Health: Interreg NEXT & IPA CBC in action

Thu 15, October 2020
09:30 - 11:00 CET

Coronavirus does not know limits or borders and cooperation across borders in the health sector can at times be a matter of life or death. A number of Interreg Europe programmes (IPA and ENI CBC programmes) are focused on health, trying to find solutions to border challenges, harness interregional cooperation opportunities and develop synergies, and improve access to healthcare facilities. The different workshop panels will present successful health cooperation projects (IPA, ENI and internal CBC), present lessons learned and good practices, and explore how these can be applied to external and internal borders as well as to the integration of health cooperation into programming for 2021-2027. The panels will be followed by a question and answer session. Speakers will be from DG REGIO/DG SANTE/DG NEAR and will also include project partners from different cross-border areas.

Mercedes Acitores, Senior Officer - Inclusive Growth Network, Interact, Interact, Spain.
Aneliya Aleksandrova, Communication Officer, Joint Secretariat of IPA CBC Bulgaria-Serbia, Bulgaria.
Caroline Hager, Team Leader Cross-Border Healthcare, European Commission/DG SANTE, Belgium.
Jean-Pierre Halkin, Head of Unit D1, European Commission, REGIO.D1, Belgium.
Gilles KITTEL, IPA/EUSAIR/Accession negotiations Team Leader, European Commission, REGIO.D1, Belgium.
Henri Lewalle, BE-FR (ZOAST) representative, Long-term practitioner of CBHC, currently in charge of an Observatory of CB health, Cross-border cooperation BE-FR, ZOAST/CBC project Cosan, Belgium.
Gyula Ocskay, Secretary General of CESCI, CESCI - Central European Service for Cross-Border Initiatives, Hungary.
Simona Pohlova, Team Leader - ENI CBC, Neighbourhood, DG REGIO/European Commission, Belgium.
Andrzej Slodki, Head of the Joint Secretariat, Joint Secretariat of ENI CBC Poland-Belarus-Ukraine, Poland.
Georg Ziegler, Adviser to the Support Group for Ukraine, European Commission/DG NEAR, Belgium.
Cohesion and Cooperation
European Commission - DG REGIO
English (EN)

Session summary

This workshop highlighted the importance of health cooperation in border regions from different angles. The first panel presented success stories in CBC in the area of health. Representatives of the IPA CBC Bulgaria-Serbia & ENI CBC Poland-Belarus-Ukraine spoke about conditions of access to healthcare, the modernisation of healthcare facilities and the exchange of knowledge among doctors. Whereas CESCI's main aim is to find solutions to legal and administrative obstacles, the Belgian-French CBC focuses on a territorial health system. This should help patients across borders to get healthcare without facing financial or administrative problems, which is seen as an optimum goal to achieve. The overall aim is to create a better life for people in border regions and to increase cross-border mobility. The second panel from DG SANTE, DG NEAR and DG REGIO informed participants about EU financial and legislative support as well as about policy objectives for cross-border cooperation in health post 2020.

Take away message

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that solidarity and health cooperation can at times be matters of life and death. Cross-border cooperation is therefore crucial, but a range of challenges arise at the EU's internal and external borders: health systems vary; administrative and legislative rules differ; different languages and visa regimes can pose obstacles; and health professional qualifications may not always be recognised on the other side of the border. The solution: keep working together - keep collaborating!


Andrzej Slodki (ENI CBC PL-BY-UA programme)

"It was like a magic moment when we had the first meeting of doctors and staff between two hospitals from Poland and Ukraine and they were able to exchange experiences and knowledge. It was amazing how they were hungry for new knowledge".


Ocskay Gyula (Secretary General of CESCI)

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that cross-border cooperation should concentrate less on the single market and on cohesion and much more on the people living in the border area."

Henri Lewalle (Representative of the BE-FR CBC programme)

"Every year, 20 000 patients cross the Belgian-French border and receive healthcare across the border without any financial or administrative problems."