Health equity and social justice: aligning two policy agendas for a flourishing Europe

17 September 2019

Social Platform


Workshop organised by the European Public Health Alliance in the framework of the Social Platform “Building Social Europe” Flagship Conference of 16-18 September 2019

Social justice and health equity are two sides of the same coin: social inequity drives health inequities, and vice versa. Many of the deleterious effects of poverty and social exclusion manifest themselves as health problems, which further exacerbate poverty and social exclusion, creating a vicious cycle.

For instance, people who are exposed to socio-economic vulnerabilities experience higher rates of poor health, such as mental ill-health and obesity, and impaired access to adequate prevention, treatment and care. The costs associated with this state of affairs, many of which again manifest as health-related, are a major burden to the European economy and hinder significantly people’s life chances and social mobility.

This workshop explored how socio-economic policies can promote health equity and how health policies can promote social justice, exploring this multi-dimensional dynamic. This aimed to help align these perspective for the creation of a strong, integrated policy agenda for a Europe that promotes people’s flourishing.

During this workshop, we strived to answer the following questions:

  • What is the added value of the EU working on this topic?
  • What does the EU already do in this field (state-of-play?
  • What is missing (gaps) and how can EU engagement be strengthened?
  • What are our recommendations for steps forwards?
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