The aim of EU cohesion policy is to reduce regional economic/social disparities in Europe – largely through the EU structural funds.
Health has increasingly been recognised as an important asset for regional development and competitiveness and has become eligible for regional cohesion funding:
• European Regional Development Fund – €5bn allocated for health infrastructure investment in 2007-13
• European Social Fund – funds health activities linked to ageing, e-health, health promotion and training.
However, these are relatively small amounts, so funding needs to be used effectively by national and regional authorities.