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The European Semester: A health inequalities perspective

24 November, 2017

Will the 2017 European Semester process contribute to improving health equity?

EuroHealthNet’s 2017 analysis of the European Semester

The European Semester is an annually applied mechanism for policy coordination at EU level. It is used to analyse EU Member States’ economic situation, monitor progress and provide country specific recommendations towards the EU2020 strategic objectives.  EuroHealthNet considers more can be done and achieved through the EU Semester process to ensure action is taken which responds to social and health needs of people from different socio-economic groups. By providing recommendations to Member States in social and economic areas, the EU Semester process can be important for addressing health inequalities and the social determinants of health.

In this document EuroHealthNet takes a closer look at three key social determinants of health and how they are represented in the EU Semester while providing examples from the country specific recommendations and the Country Reports of three countries: Austria, Slovakia and Ireland . We analyse the Annual Growth survey 2017, and compare 2016 Country Specific Recommendations with 2017 country progress reports and 2017 recommendations in light of the available evidence in three key themes. What is positive, what is missing and what can be done better? This analysis highlights the entry points and opportunities for tackling health and social inequalities within the EU Semester process. It also considers the relevance of using and applying the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights (Social Pillar) and its Social Scoreboard to increase the impact of the EU Semester as a coordination tool for social, health and well-being policies.

Read the Semester analysis here.

The European Semester from a health equity perspective – EuroHealthNet analyses

The European Semester is the EU’s annual cycle of economic and social policy coordination. The Semester affects health care, early childhood education, unemployment, as well as social transfer and pension systems.

Similarly, the Semester is also a tool and a mechanism that can assist health agencies in their work to improve public health and act of the determinants of health. Therefore, it is essential they understand what it is and how to work with it.

Every Semester cycle, EuroHealthNet analyses the Semester from a health perspective and provides support to organisations affected by it. Find our previous analyses here.

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