Ministers to discuss strategies to ward off looming crisis in healthcare financing

Health ministers are gathering for an
informal Health Council on 9-10 September to discuss the
sustainability of healthcare systems in view of population
ageing.

The long-term sustainability of healthcare financing
in the EU is coming under growing pressure as a result of
a steady proportional increase of ageing populations,
fast technological advances and the growing expectations
of citizens for high quality and more accessible
care. 

Population ageing is a challenge for all European
countries. In this context, EU health ministers will
discuss issues regarding the affordability, availability
and quality of care in the framework of an informal
Council meeting on 9-10 September in Noordwijk. 

For the past few years, healthcare expenditure in the
EU Member States has been growing more rapidly than the
Gross Domestic Product. Increased mobility of patients
and professionals has revealed tensions between the free
movement principle of the internal market and the
principle of subsidiarity with regard to the organisation
and funding of healthcare. Health ministers will thus
explore how Member States can support each other in
finding a solution to these huge challenges. 

After lunch on 9 September, ministers will be briefed
about the findings of the conference “Shaping the EU
Health Community” (see also 
EURACTIV, 6 September 2004

) The official programme will then begin, comprising
brief presentations on the impact of ageing on healthcare
systems, the health aspects of ageing and safeguarding
financial sustainability. 

Further Reading