Major and chronic diseases

The reflection process on chronic diseases

The EU approach to the challenge of chronic diseases requires an integrated response focusing on risk factors across sectors and policy fields, and on prevention, combined with efforts to strengthen health systems.

National governments meeting in the Council have invited EU countries and the European Commission to:

  • initiate a reflection process on chronic diseases, in order to identify ways to optimize the response to chronic diseases and the cooperation between EU countries
  • lead that reflection process in close dialogue with relevant stakeholders, including patients, professionals, healthcare payers and providers
  • take into account e‑health and the potential contribution of other policy areas, in particular employment, disability, education and housing.

Council conclusions – innovative approaches for chronic diseases (7 Dec.  2010)

Undertaken steps

An interim report identified 2 main priorities for EU action on chronic diseases:

•prevention & health promotion
•disease management with an emphasis on patient empowerment.

The work carried out starting from this basis has been summarized in a final report.

Follow up

Under the 2013 Health Programme, a joint action has been launched with EU countries addressing chronic diseases & promoting healthy aging across the life cycle

The joint action addresses the challenge of the increased burden that chronic conditions and diseases place on health systems and individuals in Europe, with a specific focus on multi‑morbidity (co-existence of two or more chronic diseases in one person). The main objectives are to:

  • map across Europe new innovative actions in social media, behavioural science and new technologies, as well as more traditional actions on risk factors
  • examine barriers to uptake for prevention, targeted screening of risk groups, and treatment of major chronic diseases (using diabetes as an example)
  • look in more detail at how to address multi‑morbidity and other complex issues in the framework of chronic diseases.