EU Health Summit | Towards an EU Health Union

18 November 2022

The 3rd edition of the EU Health Summit, an initiative by the EU Health Coalition, took place on 15 November 2022 in Brussels at the Flemish Parliament. The first edition of 2018 called upon the European Commission and the European Parliament to bring about necessary changes to ensure a health perspective in all policies. In 2020, in the amidst of the COVID pandemic, the 2nd Summit advocated to translate the 2018 recommendations into concrete policy change to improve Europeans’ health and health systems’ sustainability. This year, while in the middle of a geopolitical, economic, and energetic crisis, the Summit was the platform to present specific, concrete and implementable policy recommendations developed by the EU Health Coalition to progress towards a European Health Union and ensure that health remains a priority on the political agenda 

Over the last years, the EU Health Coalition, of which EHMA is a member, have been reflecting around four areas:

  • Accelerating the digital transformation of European health systems
  • Boosting health research & innovation
  • Improving access to health innovation and reducing inequalities
  • Advancing health systems integration

The Coalition work resulted in a vision for a Europe where health and care systems are without siloes and centred on people and patients, and where health and life sciences represent the third strategic pillar of Europe, for a true EU Health Union to be realised. To this aim, the Coalition developed 9 concrete and actionable policy recommendations and policy asks 

The EU Health Summit gathered high-level representatives from WHO Europe, EU institutions, regional and local policymakers, NGOs, patients’ representatives, and civil society to share their views on the recommendations. Speakers echoed the Coalition’s reflections and contributed with their own perspectives. In-person and online attendees enriched the discussion, by lively participating in the Q&A sessions.

As member of the EU Health Coalition, EHMA is active in the working groups on ‘Health systems’ integration’ and ‘Digital transformation’, where we share knowledge on health management best practices. In consideration of health workforce digital skills being one of the most recurring topics in health management, we were pleased to have our Executive Director, George Valiotis speaking at the panel ‘Accelerating the digital transformation of European health systems‘. Alongside MEP Tomislav Sokol (Croatia) and MEP Cristian Busoi (Romania); Prof Ilona Kickbusch (Graduate Institute Geneva); Martin Dorazil (European Commission); and Annabel Seebohm (COCIR), Mr Valiotis called for a European strategy for upskilling and reskilling the health workforce. The panel also agreed that the digitalisation of European health systems requires infrastructure, the correct mindset, and appropriate frameworks and governance structures.

EHMA was pleased to represent health management in such a high-level event. We look forward to continuing our work with the EU Health Coalition and advocate for health and life science to be recognised as the third pillar of the European Health Union, together with excellence in health management for a healthy Europe.

  • The EU Health Coalition recommendations are available here 
  • An event report will be circulated soon. 
The EU Health Coalition maps the future of healthcare in Europe to make the most of innovation; the role of the European Union in addressing the challenges we face; and how different sectors can converge to deliver the best outcomes for patients. The Coalition gathers 43 members between patient organisations, EU research-oriented medical societies, industry organisations, healthcare providers, regional and local health authorities, NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders. For more information about the EU Health Coalition, visit their website.


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What our Members say

I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy

Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.

Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria

I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.

Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary

As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.

Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK

Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.

Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain