On 26th April, EuroHealthNet hosted a hybrid roundtable event on the European Semester. Discussion was centred around its potential as an economic tool to promote health equity and economies of wellbeing across Europe. The session began with an opening remark by István Ujhelyi, a member of the European Parliament. Caroline Costongs, Director at EuroHealthNet, then highlighted the potential of the European Semester to steer developments in member states and the urgent need to adopt a systems approach to preventative healthcare and an economy of wellbeing.
Vania Putatti, Policy Coordinator at EuroHealthNet, set the scene for the subsequent roundtable. Putatti stressed the outdated nature of current economic models which commonly view wellbeing as expendable. Instead, the potential of promoting ‘socially orientated strategies’ through the tool of the European Semester must be realised, with inclusive growth and the convergence of social and economic policies crucial. This was supported by an additional presentation by Taru Koivisto from the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Koivisto underlined how the European Semester should act as the next step in enhancing multisectoral approaches to health improvement, providing a key opportunity to simultaneously increase wellbeing and support sustainable economic growth.
The remainder of the session was a roundtable discussion, with participants welcomed to share their perspectives. Themes included; the need to break down siloed action on health and integrate it with other sectors, shift from curative to preventative action and the importance of upholding equality and fairness within current major agenda items such as the EU green deal.
EuroHealthNet produces annual analysis of the European Semester which can be found here.