- Opening date
- Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety
Public health community
Why we are consulting
Consultation: EU action to reduce health inequalities
The Communication sets out actions that the European Commission will take to help address health inequalities including:
- Collaboration with national authorities, regions and other bodies
- assessment of the impact of EU policies on health inequalities to ensure that they help reduce them where possible.
- regular statistics and reporting on the size of inequalities in the EU and on successful strategies to reduce them.
- better information on EU funding to help national authorities and other bodies address the inequalities.
- Press release
- Background document
- Questions and answers
- Projects on health inequalities supported by the public health programme
- Projects on health inequalities supported by the 7th Research Framework programme
- Extracts from the press conference by Androulla VASSILIOU, European Commissioner for Health and Vladimir SPIDLA, European Commissioner for Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities
Consultation on the Communication
Significant inequalities exist in public health status between countries of the EU and between population groups within these countries. Social determinants play an important role in contributing to these, impacting on life expectancy and overall health. They include issues such as employment, income, education and ethnicity.
In an attempt to address health inequalities, the EU promotes policies and assists national authorities and interested parties to take measures to reduce them. The European Commission's 2009 Communication Solidarity in Health - Reducing Health Inequalities in the EU, set out an initial strategy for the area which included:
- An assessment of the impact of EU policies on health inequalities
- Updating data on health inequalities and on successful strategies to reduce these
- Information on EU funding to help national authorities and other bodies to address inequalities.
Report on health inequalities in the EU
In 2013, the Commission followed up with a Staff Working Document Report on health inequalities in the European Union. It provides:
- Updated facts and figures on health inequalities in the EU
- An assessment of progress in implementing the 2009 strategy.
It concludes that while some progress has been made, that more action is needed at local, national and EU levels. EU policies provide opportunities that EU countries and interest groups need to fully embrace to achieve better health, and greater cohesion in health.
Investing in reducing health inequalities
Investing in reducing health inequalities further contributes to social cohesion and breaks the vicious spiral of poor health that both contributes to and results from poverty and exclusion.
The Commission implements pilot projects related to specific aspects of reducing health inequalities with funding from the European Parliament.
A Joint Action on Health Inequalities under the EU Health Programme is also being prepared and will be launched in 2018. It will form the basis for collaboration between EU countries on increasing health equality.