“Health care” directive, the return…

(B2) Here we were able to learn about the new proposal for a directive on cross-border care, currently being drawn up by the cabinet of the European Commissioner for Health, the Cypriot Androulla Vassiliou. And we had enough time to get a good idea of ​​the text (which does not change much from the previous text prepared under Commissioner Kyprianou).

It has the same flaws. Which is quite logical since it was designed by roughly the same team, around Philippe Brunet, the current chief of staff of Me Vassiliou, with a latent complexity and very contradictory objectives:

1) This text considers care as a service, where the patient is a consumer of care;

2) It gives States some arguments for refusing care – going beyond that according to a short analysis of the Court's case law, which in a way is more favorable to the patient.

3) It partly reviews the principle of the country of origin of the “Bolkestein” directive while leaving certain aspects of such vagueness that an intentional spirit of a desire to liberalize the market could be engulfed in it.

4) It makes no provision for health services. A term that is completely excluded from the content of the directive.


1) This text perverts the spirit that has always governed this matter, that of solidarity and social security (without forgetting that it is, in part, a duplicate of a regulation that already exists... since 1971. A regulation that has great flaws certainly but has the great merit of existing, functioning, and serving millions of Europeans each year without affecting the difference in the social systems of the Member States).

2) The new text in no way clarifies the situation of the lambda but more informed patient, who will have, faced with the same two situations, the possibility of having two rights applicable with different rules.

3) As it is a directive, this will induce transposition delays and above all, a risk of very different interpretation (risk all the greater as the text is vague), on a subject where there should only be only one interpretation = the right to medical treatment of a German should be identical to that of an Englishman.

The main points are commented on in Europolitics this Monday.

NB: the text should normally be put on the table of the European Commission on July 2 to be presented to the Council of Ministers and to Parliament under the French presidency. The text must be adopted by majority, in identical terms, in these two assemblies.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

© Photo: European Commission – Commissioner Vassiliou

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).