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The health systems of European Union’ Member States are a crucial part of Europe’s high levels of social protection and cohesion; they play a central role in modern societies in helping people maintain and improve their health. The need to make health systems financially sustainable in a way which safeguards these values into the future is widely recognised.


Over the last decade, European health systems have faced growing common challenges: population ageing associated with a rise of chronic diseases and multi-morbidity leading to growing demand for healthcare, increasing cost of healthcare, shortages and uneven distribution of health professionals, health inequalities and inequities in access to healthcare.


In recent years, the economic crisis has limited the financial resources available and thus aggravated Member States’ difficulties in ensuring their health systems’ sustainability. In turn, this jeopardises Member States’ ability to provide universal access to good quality healthcare.


The fiscal challenge related to increasing health expenditure is significant. Measures introduced in the last two decades aimed at improving value for money and slowing down the growth of health spending will have to be continued in the immediate future to contribute to the needed consolidation of public finances in Europe. Health systems will be monitored further by the European Union.