EU Public Health
Public Health
  • helping them achieve shared objectives
  • generating economies of scale, by pooling resources
  • helping member countries tackle common challenges – such as pandemics, chronic diseases or the impact of increased life expectancy on healthcare systems.

EU health policy – implemented though its Health Strategy  – focuses on:

  • prevention – especially by promoting healthier lifestyles
  • equal chances of good health and quality healthcare for all (regardless of income, gender, ethnicity, etc.)
  • tackling serious cross-border health treats
  • keeping people healthy into old age
  • new technologies & practices

Health also has implications for economic prosperity – see the policy paper Investing in Health.

Specific EU action

  • EU-wide laws & standards for health products and services (e.g. medicines, medical devices and eHealth) and patients (e.g. safety and cross-border health services)
  • Giving EU countries tools to help them cooperate & identify best practice (e.g. health promotion activities, addressing risk factors, disease management and health systems)
  • Funding for innotive initatives trough the EU Health programme.


EU Health Strategy

The EU Health Strategy “Together for Health” supports the overall Europe 2020 strategy.
Europe 2020 aims to turn the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy promoting growth for all -one prerequisite of which is a population in good health.

Investing in health

As well as being a value in itself, health is a precondition for economic prosperity. Efficient spending on health can promote growth.

Europe needs smart investments in health:

  • spending smarter but not necessarily more in sustainable health systems
  • investing in people s health, particularly through health‑promotion programmes
  • investing in health coverage as a way of reducing inequalities and tackling social exclusion.

Together for Health

The comprehensive EU strategy Together for healthpdf, adopted in 2007:

  • responds to challenges faced by member countries by strengthening cooperation and coordination across the EU
  • complements national health policies in line with Art. 168 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EUpdf.

An evaluation by the European Commission (2011) found that the strategy acts as a reference for actions taken at national and EU levels and confirmed that the principles and objectives identified in 2007 will remain valid for the next decade in the context of Europe 2020.

EU Health Programme

The EU is required by its founding treaty to ensure that human health is protected as part of all its policies, and to work with the EU countries to improve public health, prevent human illness and eliminate sources of danger to physical and mental health.

The EU health strategy “Together for Health” supports the overall Europe 2020 strategy.  Europe 2020 aims to turn the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy promoting growth for all -one prerequisite of which is a population in good health.

Third health programme (2014-2020)

The programme has 4 overarching objectives. It seeks to:

  1. Promote health, prevent diseases and foster supportive environments for healthy lifestyles taking into account the ‘health in all policies’ principle,
  2. Protect Union citizens from serious cross-border health threats,
  3. Contribute to innovative, efficient and sustainable health systems,
  4. Facilitate access to better and safer healthcare for Union citizens.

The third EU health programme is the main instrument the European Commission uses to implement the EU health strategy Choose translations of the previous link. It is implemented by means of annual work plans which set out priority areas and the criteria for funding actions under the programme. The total budget for the programme is € 449.4 million.


EU Health Institutions and bodies