The Treaty of Lisbon has enhanced the importance of health policy, stipulating that ‘a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Community policies and activities’. This objective is to be achieved through Community support to Member States and by fostering cooperation.
Primary responsibility for health protection and, in particular, the healthcare systems continues to lie with the Member States. However, the EU has an important role to play in improving public health, preventing and managing diseases, mitigating sources of danger to human health, and harmonising health strategies between Member States. The EU has successfully implemented a comprehensive policy, through the Health Strategy ‘Health for Growth’ and its action programme (2014-2020) and a body of secondary legislation.