On 9 February, the European Committee of the Regions’ Interregional Group on Health and Wellbeing held its constitutive meeting to set priorities for their meetings of 2023. After an efficient discussion, the Interregional Group agreed on the following priorities, in line with the CoR IRGHW Work Programme 2020-2025.

Undoubtedly, the European Health Data Space emerged as a top priority for this year, especially following the adoption of the CoR’s Opinion on “Regulation on the European Health Data Space” during the European Committee of the Regions’ plenary session held the day before (8 February). The IRGHW Members stressed the need to further discuss the role of regions in this ambitious project and address major questions and issues that might arise in designing and implementing the infrastructure. Given the importance of the topic and the ongoing negotiations, the members agreed to focus the first public meeting of the year, scheduled for 16 March, on the discussion on the EHDS.

The Pharmaceutical Strategy also came into the spotlight, an issue on which there may be interesting developments in the coming months as one of the priorities of the Swedish Presidency. Learning from the virtuous example of joint procurement of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of having coordinated procurement strategies to make access to medicines easier for countries and regions was underlined. The IRGHW Members decided to focus on this topic at the meeting tentatively scheduled for early July.

Attention was drawn also to digital and green skills and sustainability of health systems, which can offer an interesting angle related both to the European Health Data Space and the overall digital and green transition. Moreover, this focus would fit perfectly in the European Year of Skills, which the EU is going to celebrate in the second half of 2023. IRGHW Members agreed to take into consideration this topic as a potential focus for the session that will take place during the European Week of Regions and Cities (9-12 October). Given the broadness of the topic (green transition and sustainability of health systems), it can also be considered as a potential focus for the last meeting of 2023 in late November. Other subjects of interest were the integration of care and the centralisation of EU health-related response to humanitarian emergencies.

For more detailed information, the minutes of the Constitutive Meeting as well as the CoR IRGHW Work Programme 2020-2025 are available via the buttons below.