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Together for Health: A Strategic Approach for the EU 2008-2013

Code: A16

Primary project information

Lead: European Commission
Additional project partners: None
Type of activity: EC White Paper
Date conducted: 23.10.2007
Date of Publication: 23.10.2007
Duration: N/A
Summary: The area of health is essentially the responsibility of the Member States. The role of the European Union (EU), as laid down in the European treaties, is to undertake measures to supplement the work of the Member States, while providing European added value, particularly with regard to major health threats, issues that have a cross-border or international impact and questions relating to the free movement of goods, services and people. Accordingly, a cross-sectoral approach is vital and all Community policies must play a role in health protection. The new strategy set out in the White Paper therefore relates to health in all sectors. It must also, in a single strategic framework, confront the growing challenges for the health of the population, such as demographic changes, pandemics, bioterrorism and illnesses related to unhealthy lifestyles.
Financed by: European Commission
Budget: N/A
Research area/market/industry/sector: Heatlh
Main report (full title): Together for Health: A Strategic Approach for the EU 2008-2013. COM(2007) 630 final. This document is accompanied by A Commission Staff Working Document Brussels, 23.10.2007 SEC(2007) 1376


Societal Challenges Shortlist: Demographic changes
Health Challenges: 1) Demographic changes including population ageing are changing disease patterns and putting pressure on the sustainability of EU health systems. Also citizens' rising expectations increase pressure on health systems.
2) Pandemics, major physical and biological incidents and bioterrorism pose potential major threats to health. Climate change is causing new communicable disease patterns.
3) Recent years have seen a great evolution in healthcare systems in part as a result of the rapid development of new technologies which are revolutionising the way we promote health and predict, prevent and treat illness. [2-3]
4) Health inequalities across EU [4]
5) Globalisation means that both health problems and solutions reach across borders, and these often have cross-sectoral causes and implications. Increased trade and travel have brought new risks by facilitating the spread of communicable diseases.[6, 8]
6) Patient safety is a further area of concern [9]. 7) Mobility of patients and health professinals.
Health Challenges Shortlist: Ageing; changing disease patterns; pandemics and bioterrorism; health inequalities; development of new technologies; spread of communicable diseases; Patient safety.
Cross-cutting Challenges Shortlist: and environmental factors that affect health need to be linked in
Other Challenges Shortlist: partnerships with all EU countries

Summary of relevant aspects

Connecting fields: The White Paper emphasises that responding to major health threats requires cross-sectoral work and policies. Health concerns should be intergrated into all EC policies. [3] Health in all policies [6]
Aspects of ERA Governance: The major importance of new technologies is emphasised in the development of health care systems including ICT, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology. [3] Health policy connects to all EC policies including research. To boost investment in health systems, health has been integrated into instruments aimed at enhancing EU growth, employment and innovation including the Lisbon strategy, the 7th Framework Programme for Research including the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and Regional Policy. However, further action is needed, e.g. in relation to the capacities of regions, which are key actors in delivering healthcare. [9]
Aspects of RTI Governance: More research is needed to support the measures of EU health policy [8]
Other Aspects of Governance: Health policy is considered increasingly horisontal and cross-sectoral policy.
Surprising Issues: It is a bit surpising if health is only now considered as cross-sectoral issues, i.e. if that is considered as a novelty.
Background information: The Health Strategy aims to be a cohesive framework document, giving clear direction to Community activities in the field of health for the coming years in order to further improve and protect health in the EU and beyond its borders. It reinforces the
importance of health within key EC1 policies such as the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, in terms of the links between health and economic prosperity, and the Citizens' Agenda, in terms of people's right to be empowered in their health and healthcare. The Strategy is a framework which goes across sectors, recognising the contributions to health of a wide range
of other policy areas.
The Strategy puts forward an overall approach, based on four fundamental principles and three strategic objectives, selected with the aim of tackling areas in which strong European added value can be achieved.


Scenarios: No scenarios provided.
Actions/solutions implied: Four major solutions:
1) Health policy needs to be based on clear values,such as universality, access to good quality care, equity and solidarity
2) health is the greatest wealth: health and health policy has wide implications in many areas including economic prosperity
3) health in all policies: integration of health issues across policies
4) strengthening the EU's voice in global health [3-6]
Who benefits from the actions taken?: European citizens.

Meta information

Time horizon: 2007-2013
Methods: This is EC document. Public consultations have been carried out.
Target Group: EU member states ' governments, stakeholders of EU health policy, European citizens
Objectives: Objective I: Fostering good health in an ageing Europe
Objective II: protecting citizens from health threats
Objective III: supporting dynamic health systems and new technologies
Countries covered: Europe
ERA actors/stakeholders mentioned: European scientists in the are of medicine and health technologies.
Geographic scope:

Entry Details

Rapporteur: Antti Pelkonen
Rapporteur's organization: VTT
Entry Date: 27.8.2012