Send to a friend
google +
Print version

by Martin Seychell, Deputy Director General of the European Commission Directorate for Health and Food Safety

by Martin Seychell, Deputy Director General of the European Commission Directorate for Health and Food Safety

How is the European taxpayer's money being spent on health? With support from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), health investments in 2014-2020 are going to be result-driven and based on the needs. These funds are intended to help reduce health inequalities and make it easier for all EU citizens to have access to high quality healthcare. In short, to provide fairer, better health care services for all.

Health investments, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund, will be earmarked for specific things like strengthening primary healthcare and community-based care, health promotion and disease prevention, programmes for active and healthy ageing, continued medical training and eHealth.

Funds will also be used for research and innovation in healthcare, including SMEs active in the health sector, administrative and institutional capacity building for health authorities, and programmes to improve the energy efficiency of hospitals or the management of dangerous medical waste.

The health infrastructure investments in the 2014-2020 programming period are better targeted and designed than in previous programming periods and, according to new ESIF 2014-2020 rules, must be in line with national or regional strategic policy frameworks. The bottom line: they will be more oriented to getting sustainable results.

The scope and budget of these investments varies between countries, but overall the 28 Member States plan to spend EUR 3.8 billion between 2014 and 2020 for health infrastructure alone and further EUR 954 million for the use of ICT in health. In addition, more than EUR 4 billion has been designated for "soft" health-related investments (health and social care combined as well as actions for active and healthy ageing).

Our Directorate-General SANTE has been working closely with the DGs REGIO and EMPL, leading on ESIF, on the use of these funds for health investments, by advising on health policy priorities, participating in the inter-service consultations of all ESIF programming documents and by participating in inter-service and bilateral meetings with the Member States. Moreover, DG SANTE had the leading role in defining the so called “ex-ante conditionality” relating to health, whose fulfilment is a precondition for using ESIF for health investments.

The ESIF investments don't benefit certain populations at the exclusion of others – they benefit us all and help us reach our goal of giving every European citizen equal opportunity to a long, healthy and productive life.

Investing in health through European Structural and Investment Funds

More on this subject