On the 20th of September 2017 the European Commission adopted its Communication “Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions”.
The Communication aims to highlight ways in which the EU, Member States and regions can reduce the complexity, length and costs of cross-border interaction and promote cooperation in services along internal borders.
The Communication marks cross-border healthcare as a crucial field for cooperation to improve life of border region citizens. In the Communication document, the Commission proposes a set of actions to be implemented in this area. These actions will be facilitated by the creation of a “Border Focal Point” within the Commission consisting of Commission experts in cross-border issues, which will offer advice to national and regional authorities to tackle legal and administrative border obstacles.
The Commission’s actions to promote cross-border healthcare in 2018:
- Conduct a comprehensive mapping of cross-border health cooperation across the EU in order to identify good practices and analyze future challenges. The mapping will be available and shared with stakeholders via the Border Focal Point in 2018.
- Organize a strategic event to highlight good practices of cross-border cooperation and explore ways in which this can be further developed throughout the Union.
- Support the implementation of digital services in regional/local health authorities by actively promoting existing e-solutions among border stakeholders and public authorities.
Communication Launch Event 20- 21 September 2017
To mark the adoption of the Communication, a launch event took place on the 20-21 September.
During the Keynote Speech, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Ms Crețu put forward examples of what can be done to remove hurdles that obstruct growth, healthcare and labour mobility in border regions. The Commissioner also mentioned that in late 2017, the Commission will launch a call for projects related to reduce border obstacles. These calls will primarily focus on the health sector and transport issues which the Commissioner finds especially important in these regions.
Mr Henri Lewalle, expert on Franco-Belgian Agreements on cross-border healthcare, presented the healthcare cooperation, emergency medical care and the medico-social cooperation being implemented along the Franco-Belgian border. The cooperation can be seen as an example on how two health systems can use their differences to complement each other, share knowledge and ultimately improve the healthcare for their border region citizens