An Economy of Health and Wellbeing

Contribution from the EU4Health campaign group towards the Council Conclusions on The Economy of Wellbeing

 

 

 

Increased and maintained action on health and reducing health inequalities should be the central pillar of the Economy of Wellbeing

Pleased with a choice of the Economy of Wellbeing as a priority theme by the current Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, we, civil society organisations united in our EU4Health campaign,  welcome this draft Council conclusions on the subject and put forward some suggestions to consider ahead of the adoption of the text. We trust the conclusions will contribute to the aim and guide implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights in line with the new EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024. To this end, however, strong and sustained rights-based focus of the Economy of Wellbeing theme should prevail.

 

 

Economy of Health and Wellbeing

We believe that increased and maintained action on health and reducing health inequalities within and between EU Member States should constitute a central pillar of the Economy of Wellbeing.

Recent EU data shows that after years of continuous increase, gains in life expectancy have started to falter or even show signs of reverse. Health inequalities reduce economic and social productivity and lead to higher healthcare and welfare costs. In the European Union, inequalities in health are estimated to cost €980 billion per year, or 9.4 percent of European GDP. A 50% reduction in gaps in life expectancy would provide monetised benefits to countries ranging from 0.3% to 4.3% of GDP. Newest report from WHO Europe also makes a case for accelerated investments in policy areas that affect health equity beyond health services – income security and social protection, living conditions, social and human capital, and employment and working conditions. Importantly and encouragingly, these gains can be achieved “within the lifetime of a single government”. 

Read the entire EU4Health contribution to the Council Conclusions on The Economy of Wellbeing.