On April 26th, EUD attended the event “The European Semester – a tool to embed health, equity, and wellbeing across the EU” organized by EuroHealthNet. The main topic of this event was to highlight the potential use of the European Semester to reduce the impact of global emergencies (Covid-19 pandemic, global conflict, climate change, technological revolution) through the use of investments and reforms aiming to promote health and wellbeing.
The event was hosted by MEP István Ujhelyi from the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialist and Democratswho opened the event together with Ms Caroline Costongs, Director of EuroHealthNet. During the event, the necessity to ensure that the wellbeing of European communities is at the core of Member States economies was stressed, in order to foster sustainable economic growth. Nevertheless, the process to implement this vision is only a recent development. The event was an opportunity to hear more about this from Ms Taru Koivisto – Deputy Director of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland. Specifically, Ms Koivisto shared the Finnish Action Plan to shape the European Semester mechanism into a tool promoting wellbeing which includes recommendations such as: the creation of an independent expert forum on health, monitoring on wellbeing, an impact assessment, and collaborating with civil society. A further recommendation involves the inclusion of a wellbeing decisional approach in the economic and political European Semester, by providing specific recommendations or proposals on this .
During the roundtable discussion, it was stated that the European Semester must include information on sustainability in the EU food system scoreboard similar to the European Social Pillar Scoreboard in connection to wellbeing. Moreover, the importance of ensuring a fair social transition in the process of the green transition – one of the most important goals of the EU.
Although EUD acknowledges the potential of the European Semester as a tool to implement political measures to promote accessible and sustainable health and wellbeing , deaf persons continue to face barriers in this regard meaning cannot enjoy their right to equal access to healthcare under Article 25, UN CRPD. Within its work on healthcare access for deaf persons, EUD calls the European Institutions to include, within the European Semester mechanism, specific initiatives and measure to ensure the health and wellbeing of deaf persons in all EU Member States.