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European Commission sets out country-specific recommendations on health

Wednesday 05 June 2019

As part of its European Semester process (the EU's yearly cycle of economic, fiscal and social policy coordination), the European Commission has adopted proposals for country specific recommendations, including some specifically focused on health. There are 16 Member States for whom health specific recommendations have been made, focused on a range of themes including, investing in national health systems, improving health system effectiveness and increasing accessibility and resilience of health systems. Member States are responsible for their own health policy and the organisation and delivery of care. As part of the European Semester, however, the EU can give a recommendation to an EU country on certain aspects of its health system, which relate to general economic, fiscal and social policies.

The Commission has identified the need to address investments in Member States as a priority for this year, particularly in light of ongoing negotiations about the future Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021 to 2027. The Commission's proposals for country-specific recommendations will now be discussed in the European Council, where EU countries have until early July to vote on their final adoption. Following the approval of the recommendations, their implementation will be monitored. The health related recommendations are as follows:



Improve access to health services, including by reducing out-of-pocket payments and addressing shortages of health professionals.


Improve long-term fiscal sustainability of the pension and health-care systems.


Address the expected increase in age-related expenditure by making the healthcare system more cost-effective.


Focus investment-related economic policy on. …, health, … , taking into account regional disparities and the need to ensure social inclusion.


Take measures to ensure that the National Health System becomes operational in 2020, as planned, while preserving its long-term sustainability.


Increase the accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of the healthcare system.


Increase the quality, affordability and efficiency of the healthcare system.


Improve health outcomes by supporting preventive health measures and strengthening primary health care.


Ensure the fiscal sustainability of the healthcare and the pension systems.


Ensure the sustainability of the health, long-term care, and pension systems.


Focus investment-related economic policy on, healthcare, taking into account regional disparities etc


Improve the quality of public finances by prioritising growth-enhancing spending while strengthening overall expenditure control, cost efficiency and adequate budgeting, with a focus in particular on a durable reduction of arrears in hospitals.


Improve access to and cost-efficiency of healthcare, including through the shift to outpatient care.


Adopt and implement reforms in healthcare and long-term care that ensure quality, accessibility and long-term fiscal sustainability.


Safeguard the long-term sustainability of public finances, notably that of the healthcare and pension systems.
 Focus investment-related economic policy on healthcare, taking into account regional disparities etc.


Improve the cost-effectiveness of and equal access to social and healthcare services