The Directorate-General for Health and Consumers 1999–2014: An assessment of its functional capacities

Timo Clemens, Kristine Sørensen, Nicole Rosenkötter, Kai Michelsen, Helmut Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Capacity assessment has become a popular measure in the health sector to assess the ability of various stakeholders to pursue agreed activities. The European Commission (EC) is increasingly dealing with a variety of health issues to coordinate and complement national health policies. This study analyses the functional capacity of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) between 1999 and 2004. It applies the UNDP Capacity Assessment Framework and uses a literature review, a document review of EU policy documents and expert interviews to assess the capacity of DG SANCO to fulfill its mandate for public health and health systems. Our results suggest that DG SANCO has established capacities to engage with stakeholders; to assess various health issues, to define issue-specific health policies and to collect information for evaluative purposes. In contrast, capacities tend to be less established for defining a clear strategy for the overall sector, for setting priorities and for budgeting, managing and implementing policies. We conclude that improvements to the effectiveness of DG SANTE's (the successor of DG SANCO) policies can be made within the existing mandate. A priority setting exercise may be conducted to limit the number of pursued actions to those with the greatest European added value within DG SANTE's responsibilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-603
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01-06-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy


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