Brussels, Feb 21: The Commissioner for Regional Policy and Commissioner for Health and Food Safety have brought together the health professionals to kick-start the reflection on future EU investments in health under the 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy programmes.
In the context of the roundtable held on Tuesday at the Commission with health associations such as European Health Management Association and EuroHealthNet, the Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu and Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis launched a pilot project to improve cross-border emergency services in the Pyrenees between the border regions of France, Spain and the Principality of Andorra. They also announced health will be this year's new category for the RegioStars Awards.
The discussion concluded that health systems are evolving towards more education, health promotion and disease prevention. They are also shifting away from hospital and institution-centred care to community-based care and towards integration of health and social care. With new policy objectives that allow for integrated investments in health, social inclusion and education, the Commission's proposal for the 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy provides the conditions to support these changes.
Evolutions in healthcare require different infrastructure investments, be that in primary and community care facilities or in prevention programmes, integrated care and workforce training. Cohesion Policy can be instrumental in supporting these investments.
Member States and regions need to design long-term investment strategies, encompassing infrastructure, human capital, innovative technologies and new care delivery models. To support these strategies, Cohesion Policy funds can be combined with other EU instruments, such as InvestEU, or with national programmes. The Commission is ready to support Member States and regions to plan these strategies.
Doctors in border regions cannot attend patients in need of urgent medical attention from across the border. To overcome this situation, the project “When medical emergency systems erase borders” aims to ensure mutual prior recognition of doctors on both sides of the border.
The second phase of the pilot project is now launched and is set to ensure bilateral agreements between the Orders of Doctors of the Spanish and French border regions. As a result, 15 million inhabitants of the Pyrenees will benefit from better emergency services as a result. The project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and will be completed mid-2019.
The results of this project will serve as an example to possibly replicate in other cross-border regions in the future. The Commission supports tackling obstacles linked to the governance of cross-border issues and, in its legislative proposal for Cohesion Policy 2021-2027, suggests setting aside 15% of any Interreg cross-border cooperation programme to this purpose.
Every year the RegioStars reward the best and most innovative Cohesion Policy projects in Europe in five thematic categories, including a topic of the year. This year's edition will seek to reward quality health projects, to inspire Member States and regions.
The online application platform is open from today until 9 May 2019. An independent jury will assess the applications and crown the winners during the RegioStars awards ceremony, to take place in Brussels in October 2019. (UNI)