“On behalf of EuroHealthNet, the European partnership for health, equity and wellbeing, I am writing to you ahead of the State of the Union address which you will deliver in September. EuroHealthNet is a network of national public health institutes and health authorities, regional and local health agencies, and research and practice organisations working together to promote health, prevent diseases and reduce health inequalities. As your address will outline strategic priorities for the European Union and its Institutions in the coming year, I would like to ask you to propose ambitious actions to urgently tackle widening social inequalities in health, growing poverty and disadvantage between and within EU countries to protect people and their communities.
We recognise your substantial efforts to implement the European Commission’s political agenda since 2019, and your dedication in leading the Commission’s work through difficult unforeseen circumstances. We heartily applaud you on the progress made to-date. Seizing the opportunity, however, EuroHealthNet calls on your leadership to facilitate and encourage more strategic and integrated approaches to improve population health, by embedding considerations for equity, prevention, resilience and wellbeing in the systems, processes and policies driven by the EU. The European Health Union, as ambitious and unprecedented as it is, is unlikely to deliver the systemic changes required to reduce inequalities in health as it is primarily oriented towards a “bio-medical approach” to health with insufficient consideration to determinants of health (e.g., socio-economic, environmental).
Throughout the year, we have reflected on the ‘public health and health equity’ state of play through dialogues with our members across Europe. We debated the lessons learnt from the pandemic (with their implications for sustainable and inclusive public health and health systems), the outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as the most recent 2022 Strategic Foresight Report’s recommendations. In conclusion, while acknowledging the substantial progress made to-date, EuroHealthNet would propose that the following realities and associated recommendations be reflected in your State of the Union address…”