Health systems and EU law and policy
The state of the art and direction of travel

Conference - 28 January 2016 - NIHDI, Brussels








  Scope and purpose


The EUís involvement in health systems has been steadily expanding for over 20 years. A recent significant change in pace has followed key events, including the Patientsí Rights Directive and increased interest in the cost-effectiveness of European health systems, in the context of the austerity measures attendant upon the Eurozone crisis. EU health law and policy are also increasingly embedded in global contexts and the potential impact of international trade agreements on health systems is subject to intense debate. Understanding these developments and the direction of travel of EU health law and policy is important.

Five years after its entering into force, we will take stock of the application of the Patientsí Rights Directive and address some of the main questions surrounding its transposition. We will assess how freedom of movement of health workers can be reconciled with equitable access to health services and discuss how the EU can help Member States to address emerging challenges in the recruitment and retention of health workforce.

Due to its size and potential for improved efficiency, healthcare became a particular target for EU fiscal austerity policies. The conference will discuss the implications of the different dimensions of EU governance for health systems. How can the effects of reforms be monitored? Can enhanced EU cooperation between health authorities help to make health systems more resilient?

EU health law and policy is increasingly developed in the broader global context of the interactions between free trade and social services and the products which support them. The conference will consider the implications of WTO law, and other international trade agreements, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), for health systems. We will discuss to what extent the EU can determine and influence the direction and implications of global trade law for health.

This conference draws on a long-standing tradition of the Belgian National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (NIHDI) and the Belgian health authorities in promoting reflection and discussion between academic experts, stakeholders and policy makers on the impact of European integration on national health systems. The conference brings together key stakeholders, reporting on the Ďstate of the artí, and its consequences for law and policy-makers. It will explore future agendas and priorities for EU health law and policy, as it affects health systems.