Public health ethical perspectives on the values of the European Commission's white paper "together for health"

Peter Schröder-Bäck, Timo Clemens, Kai Michelsen, Tobias Schulte, Kristine Sørensen, Glenn Borrett, Helmut Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In 2007 the European Commission issued the White Paper: "Together for Health". Considered the EU Health Strategy for the years 2008-2013, it offers the cornerstones for setting priorities in EU health actions. Objectives: The public health framework offered in this strategy is explicitly built on shared values - including the overarching values of universality, access to good quality care, equity and solidarity that reacted to certain health care challenges within the EU. This article analyses the Health Strategy via its ethical scope and considers implications for future health policy making. Methods: The Health Strategy and related documents are scrutinised to explore how the mentioned values are defined and enfolded. Additionally, scientific databases are searched for critical discussions of the value base of the Health Strategy. The results are discussed and reasoned from a public health ethical perspective. Results: The Health Strategy is barely documented and discussed in the scientific literature. Furthermore, no attention was given to the value base of the Health Strategy. Our analysis shows that the mentioned values are particularly focussed on health care in general rather than on public health in particular. Besides this, the given values of the Health Strategy are redundant. Conclusions: An additional consideration of consequentialist public health ethics values would normatively strengthen a population-based health approach of EU health policy making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalCentral European Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-06-2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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