On 15 October, EUREGHA coordinated the `Cohesion policy and health- Investing in a healthy and socially just development´ workshop in partnership with the European Committee of the RegionsDG SANTE from the European Commission, and EuroHealthnet. The workshop was organized within the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2020.

Mr Normunds Popens, Deputy Director-General for DG for Regional and Urban Policy, underlined that it is vital to reform the healthcare sector by actively involving stakeholders throughout the process. He welcomed the EU4Health programme and stated that the plan itself is resourceful and that the structured reforms of funds and investments behind it could reinforce the effectiveness of it. Moreover, we must take into account the social and economic differences between the Member States and regions to fight against health inequalities.

During the panel debate, Mr Loukianos Gatzoulis (Policy Analyst, DG Health and Food Safety, European Commission) confirmed that the cohesion policy is a valuable tool for the future of healthcare systems and emphasized that political engagement is necessary to implement it. COVID19 proved why healthcare resilience is so important. He said that during the next programming period, we need to acknowledge the importance of the country-specific recommendations of the European Semester. 

Mrs Caroline Costongs (Director at EuroHealthNet) stated that COVID19 showed the need to step up investments to reinforce health and care system preparedness, responsiveness, and resilience while ensuring cross border cooperation. Solidarity, sustainability, and equity are crucial throughout this process. As we look towards societal recovery from the pandemic, we need to address health promotion and disease prevention, psychosocial aspects, and health inequalities. She highlighted that cohesion policy is a crucial link between healthcare and social wellbeing.  

“Health is wealth”

Birgitta Sacrédeus

Chair of the CoR Interregional Group on Health and Wellbeing

Chair of the CoR Interregional Group on Health and Wellbeing Mrs Birgitta Sacredeus added that we should not overlook regional authorities in future healthcare reforms. Regions and cities are positioned best to efficiently identify unmet needs and have the power and the capacity to work with available funds to assure the improvement of healthcare in all regions.   

The workshop was concluded by EUREGHA chair Mr Nick Batey. He highlighted the importance of breaking the silos among the sectors while ensuring new governance and partnerships.

During the event, a statement was launched by EUREGHA and EuroHealthNet touching upon the use of the next European Structural Investment Funds for strategic investments in health and social services. EUREGHA and EuroHealthNet state that we must develop holistic regional health strategies which focus on a new governance approach, better coordination with other EU policies and tools, partnerships with health and social stakeholders, and more effective use of instruments and programs such as the Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) and INTERREG.

Find the statement and a link to the recording of the webinar here: