Note: I will use Romania as an example in my post, but the question is general (EU level).

Environment-related infringement procedures are something rather usual in the EU. Just to pick an example, Romania was called to close and rehabilitate illegal landfills:

The timeline for the closure and rehabilitation of the 15 remaining landfills is uncertain as for most of these landfills the closure works have not yet started. The Commission is therefore addressing a letter of formal notice to Romania. Romania now has two months to respond to the letter, otherwise the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

On the other hand, I am unable to find any similar procedures related to health system quality. A few of the EU countries have a high preventable and treatable mortality rate (RO, BG, LV) and I think an important factor is a health system quality.

In the specific case of Romania, I would find this document that recognizes the health system poor performance:

Per capita health spending of EUR 814 in 2015 is the lowest in the EU, and under a third of the EU average

The only thing loosely related to what I want to find is this article which mentions infrigements related to cross-border care:

We have learned that some infringement procedures – launched by the European Commission with regard to cross-border care, or payment for such care – can be seen as challenges to the basic objectives and functions of national health care systems and to the governance role of national health authorities.

Since people's health is arguably at least as important as the environment, I would expect some "pressure" to also be applied in the health area.

Question: Did the European Commission start an infringement procedure related to the quality of one or multiple EU members health systems?


1 Answer 1


In theory at least, healthcare is a shared competence, but I think it's probably not within the remit of the Commission to outright compel changes or punish countries (e.g. via the infringement procedure) for low standards of healthcare, although the Commission did assess (in 2016) at least the terms of how uniform the reporting of healthcare standards should be. And even then:

The Expert Group decided not to embrace a unique, binding definition of quality of care.

I am aware though of a couple of infringement procedures that were initiated with regard to related aspects. The last quote you gave is probably alluding to this (cross-border) EHIC issue:

Finally, in 2013 the European Commission launched infringement proceedings against Spain due to the administrative practice of various Spanish hospitals – concentrated mainly in tourist areas – to refuse to accept the EHIC if the patient was in possession of travel insurance.

More recently, they sent some formal notice letters with respect to the 112 emergency number.

the Commission has decided to send letters of formal notice to a number of EU countries [...] to Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Greece, and Spain after they failed to effectively implement the rules on the 112 emergency number (Directive 2002/22/EC), in particular by ensuring equivalent access for disabled users.

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