The health sector is vital to ensure the health and wellbeing of EU populations and it is at the core of the EU's high level of social protection. Health matters have gained prominence in the last years through debates on public spending and adequate levels of social protection.
In February 2013, the Commission adopted the 'Investing in health' approach (as part of the Social Investment Package) which presents health as a value in itself and as a 'growth-friendly' investment. It recommends investing in three key areas: health systems sustainability, people’s health as a human capital, and reducing health inequalities. The approach also recommends 'adequate support from EU funds' to health.
Investments in health are eligible under a number of the thematic priorities of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) from 2014-2020.
However, public health actors in Member States are often new players in the use of ESIF and they are less informed and prepared than other sectors’ actors. Moreover, they are not the Commission’s direct interlocutors for these funds, as there are no operational programmes devoted to health as such from 2014-2020.
The project has been launched to support the development of evidence and guidance on the use of ESIF devoted to health priorities and on their better management at a national and regional level. It aims to support in particular the Ministries of Health and the public health authorities in the Member States and regions to be more successful and effective in using ESIF funding as part of their overall health investment strategy.