How can we make better use of the European Semester cycle to achieve necessary reforms and more investments in health for all? We will present the main outcomes of the EuroHealthNet – JAHEE report “Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring health equity — The role of the European Semester” and discuss the future of health in the European Semester from a health equity perspective.
Background: While first created as a mechanism for fiscal and budgetary coordination, the European Semester has slowly but steadily incorporated principles of health and social equity within its priorities over the past decade. EC President Ursula von der Leyen’s Political Guidelines committed the Commission to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the European Semester, providing a unique opportunity to put people and their health at the centre of economic policy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed existing socio-economic disparities and led to new ones, while also revealing investments gaps. It has demonstrated how health and social care could re-organised, delivered and valued. These developments, and the links between the European Semester and structural reform processes and funds, hold much potential to reduce levels of health inequity across the EU during the upcoming recovery process.