In recent years and more particularly in the wake of the financial crisis, widespread cost-reducing healthcare reforms have been enacted in Europe at national level subject to varying degrees of pressure from the EU. In countries hardest hit by the crisis, these reforms have had detrimental effects on access to care. A strikingly contradictory feature of the current situation is that, whereas fiscal consolidation policies focus on stronger public controls, the EU internal market rules have a creeping deregulatory effect on health systems.
This policy brief identifies the need for a more consistent healthcare agenda on the part of the EU and for more transparent and accountable procedures for its involvement in this field, taking due account of the basic objectives of healthcare systems.

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