Il settore sanitario di fronte alle sfide del processo di integrazione economica europea

On issue: 
Industrial Economics

In a framework of increasing globalisation, EU Member States currently have the chance of deepening the process of European unification by starting a true economic integration through the development of a European industrial policy. In this framework, the paper seeks to underline the importance of the healthcare sector as a driver for European integration and consequently for the European economic system. On one hand, in fact, the healthcare sector is undoubtedly at the heart of a social model that has made a major contribution to modernising society as a whole. On the other, healthcare is a science-based sector, which can play an important role in raising the competitiveness of specific, strategically-crucial areas. The paper begins by showing the common origins of Europe’s healthcare systems and the main features of national reforms carried out since the 1990s. It then identifies the areas for intervention by European institutions in healthcare governance. Particular attention is placed on measures in the area of patient mobility, a rapidly growing phenomenon that underlines the essentially European nature of national health systems. The paper then analyses the actions that can improve and strengthen cooperation between Member States in the areas of research and, in particular, the creation of networks of European centres of reference. Governance on the demand side and the management of centres of excellence on the supply side are in fact two key factors that have to be taken into account in defining a European healthcare governance in which European institutions will have a major political role.