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A Health Strategy for the European Union

Although most competence for action in the field of health is held by Member States, the EU has the responsibility, set out in article 152 of the EC Treaty, to undertake certain actions which complement the work done by Member States, for example in relation to cross border health threats, patient mobility, and reducing health inequalities.

The European Commission is currently developing a new Health Strategy which it aims to adopt in summer 2007. This Strategy aims to provide, an overarching strategic framework spanning core issues in health as well as health in all policies and global health issues. The Strategy aims to set clear objectives to guide future work on health at the European level, and to put in place implementation mechanisms to achieve those objectives, working in partnership with Member States.

In order to draft the Strategy, the European Commission launched a consultation on how to prioritise the actions. Specific indicators for performance and tools that are most appropriate to attain the objectives included in the strategy were also in the questionnaire

DG SANCO consultation paper on a EU Health Strategy

DG SANCO presentation on the Health Strategy

EPHA (The European Public Health Alliance) response to the Consultation

IOGT-NTO response to DG SANCO consultation

Background Information:

The Health Strategy has been in development over the past years. In May 2000 a Communication on health strategy at EU level was adopted. This Communication called for concentrating resources where the Community can provide real added value, without duplicating work which can be better done by the Member States or international organisations. Supported by the public health programme, it led to the development of public health activities and to strengthening links to other health-related policies.
General health policy lines were set out in the concept of a Europe of Health in 2002. Work was undertaken on addressing health threats, including the creation of a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), developing cross-border co-operation between health systems and tackling health determinants. The Community's health information system provides a key mechanism underpinning the development of health policy.
In 2004, in order to review the May 2000 Health Strategy and consider whether and how it needed to be revised in the light of developments, the Commission launched a reflection process on enabling good health for all. The results of this reflection process will feed into the new Health Strategy.
The EU Health Forum, which brings together organisations active in health to advise the European Commission on health policy, is also a key element of the EU Health policy.