Global Challenges, Territorial Answers: the Future of Health in Europe - Event organised by EUREGHA on behalf of the Committee of the Region's Interregional Group on Health and Well-being

Thursday 9th July 08h00 – 09h00

Room JDE 63, Committee of the Regions


Welcome and approval of agenda

Interim Chair Mr Karsten Uno Petersen opened the meeting and welcomed the participants. The agenda was adopted without amendments.
He gave the floor to Mr Wolfgang Buecherl, DG SANTE, Health Systems and Products (Unit for Strategy and International) to give his presentation on the topic of the meeting “Health and wellbeing in all policies”.

ESIF and effective health investments – a practical illustration of health and wellbeing in all policies (Wolfgang Buecherl, European Commission, DG SANTE)

Wolfgang Buecherl gave a presentation on the use of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for investments in health. He started by praising the work of the intergroup and informed that the Commission perceives it as a very good and useful initiative.
ESIF focus on strategic investments in a long-term perspective and the idea is that projects funded through ESIF should be self-sustained in the medium and long-term. ESIF is closely aligned with the Europe 2020 strategy and the European Semester and helps implementing the economic guidance of this strategy. Over the last years, health has become a growing issue in the EU, and an increasingly important issue in the Country Specific Recommendations (this year amounting to 11 specific recommendations on health). Out of the total amount of €288 billion of the ESIF, an estimated 4-7% will be spent on health and especially under the ERDF and the ESF.
There are 11 Common thematic priorities and operational principles across the five different funds (EDRF, ESF, Cohesion Fund, EAFRD and EMFF). While health is not specifically targeted in any of the priorities, health or health-related investments can be done under almost all of the priorities.
The ex-ante conditionality on health consists of the requirements set in the regulations for regions and Member States to receive funding. These requirements should be met as soon as possible, but no later than in 2016. The conditions for health investments require the existence of a strategy at the regional or national level fulfilling certain criteria, such as stimulating efficiency, use of resources, indicative budget and a mapping of the health infrastructure.
The secretariat for the Interregional Group on Health is provided by EUREGHA
A Commission Guide on Health Investments in ESIF has been developed by DG SANTE in coordination with DG REGIO and DG EMPL. It has its basis in all relevant Council Conclusions, Recommendations etc. and proposes how ESIF can help implementing these. The guide does not include specific recommendations at country level, but may still serve as a useful framework document.

Regarding synergies of ESIF health investments with other EU instruments:

  • The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA) has complete synergies with ESIF. Support to EIP AHA projects are mainly possible under thematic objectives 1, 2, 3 and 8. Moreover, the EIP AHA is specifically mentioned in a number of regional Operational Programmes.
  • The (Third) Health Programme 2014-2020 propose only limited synergies with ESIF due to the “non-cumulative principle” holding that funding from ESIF and funding from the Health Programme cannot be combined in a single programme. A few programmes have been funded under the Health Programme to facilitate health investments in the ESIF. Examples include: The Joint Action on best practices in combatting health inequalities Equity Action, Euregio III, and ESIF for Health (more information below).
  • Horizon2020: The non-cumulative principle does not apply to Horizon2020 as research projects often have a bigger volume. Thus, ESIF investments may be combined with Horizon2020 funding, as long as it does not cover the same cost items.

Mr Buecherl also informed about support tools to facilitate ESIF investments These include Inforegio, fi-compass, JASPERS, the S3 Platform, and the 2013 Council toolbox.

The ESIF for Health project is run in DG SANTE and provides guidance to health investments through the ESIF. Project deliverables include a guide and a set of technical tools, which are available on the website. A mapping report is foreseen summarizing health investments from ESIF during 2007-2013 and the planned use for the current programming period. This report will be finalized during the autumn, and hopefully prior to Open Days in October.


A question was raised whether, in the realm of the smart specialisation strategies (RIS3), SANTE has been analysing which regional strategies fulfil the ex-ante conditionalities for health investments. Mr Buecherl informed that the purpose of the mapping is to give an idea of which regions are active in which area. DG SANTE has not been involved in the mapping per se. For further information, it is thus advised to contact DG REGIO who are responsible for this.

Discussion of proposed theme for the next meeting (October)

The Chair informed that there have been two suggestions for themes for the next meeting, which will take place in October during the Open Days week (12-15 October). The themes were “Active and
The secretariat for the Interregional Group on Health is provided by EUREGHA
Healthy Ageing” and “Migration and Health”. He further suggested to make Migration and Health the topic of the next meeting, due to the urgency of the topic. This was agreed by participants.
EUREGHA informed that the idea is to make the next meeting more extensive to be able to invite more speakers, attract more participants and improve visibility of the group. EUREGHA will inquire the CoR on the possibilities and return shortly with information.

Interpretation requests for future meetings

Interpretation will be available for the next meeting, and the Chair suggested to request interpretation into Spanish, Italian and English. This was agreed by the participants.
The Chair further informed that he has contacted the president of the CoR NAT Commission to inquire about the Memorandum of Understanding between the CoR and WHO Europe and that he would push this issue further during the day.

Close of meeting

The next meeting of the CoR Interregional Group on Health will be held during the week of Open Days, date and time to be confirmed shortly.

Related documents and links

Download the minutes in PDF format