The European Semester and health equity Findings from the Recovery and Resilience Plans in eight EU Member States

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Key findings from interviews with experts

  • The Recovery and Resilience Plans resulted in a unique integrated approach in Austria, with projects working in close collaborations between the health and social sector.

  • New projects initiated as part of the Plans added to the work burden. This was particularly due to the new instruments and recording procedures involved, which was met with limited or no increase in human resources.

  • EU rules leave little room to adjust to unforeseen challenges by making changes to the original projects.

Austria Cross-country analysis of the use of EU Recovery and Resilience Funds

Key findings from interviews with experts

  • The Recovery and Resilience Plans resulted in a unique integrated approach in Austria, with projects working in close collaborations between the health and social sector.

  • New projects initiated as part of the Plans added to the work burden. This was particularly due to the new instruments and recording procedures involved, which was met with limited or no increase in human resources.

  • EU rules leave little room to adjust to unforeseen challenges by making changes to the original projects.

The Austrian Recovery and Resilience Plan A short overview

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POLICY AREA 1: Green recovery
INVESTMENTS RRF (m/€)
Promoting more sustainable heating (incl. combatting energy poverty), while supporting low-income households 208.9
Eco-friendly and more affordable mobility 848.9
Transformation to climate neutrality 100,0
POLICY AREA 3: Knowledge-based recovery
INVESTMENTS RRF (m/€)
Research (digitalising universities) 212.0
Re-and up-skilling of the workforce (incl. an 'education bonus' to incentivise training for the unemployed) 277.0
Improving access to education (incl. remedial educational packages to improve an individual's general competence and expansion of elementary education) 129.4
POLICY AREA 2: Digital recovery
INVESTMENTS RRF (m/€)
Improved internet infrastructure, network access and connectivity (also addressing socioeconomic priorities) 891.3
Digitalisation of schools (fair and equal access to basic digital skills for secondary school pupils, incl. provision of digital devices) 171.7
Digitalisation of public administration (incl. provision of digital devices to students) 160
POLICY AREA 4: Fair recovery
INVESTMENTS RRF (m/€)
Primary healthcare (incl. funding of primary care units, developing an Electronic Mother Child Passport Platform) 125.0
Building resilient communities (developing care provision, creating climate-fit towns and implementing community nursing) 104.2
Resilience through reforms (creating legal bases and governance in the field of climate action, implementing eco-social text reform and green finance) 0

2022 Country specific recommendations for health equity

Each spring, the European Commission and European Council make Country Specific Recommendations to provide tailored advice to individual Member States on how to boost jobs, growth and investment, while maintaining sound public finances.

Austrian Country Specific Recommendations 2022 that are most relevant for health equity

2. Boost labour market participation of women and improve labour market outcomes for disadvantaged groups

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

  • Cost of long-term care is expected to soar in coming years
  • Nursing care is expected to be increasingly affected by staff shortages
  • Primary healthcare and preventative care need to be strengthened

SOCIAL POLICY

  • Austria faces demographic changes
  • Education system faces significant challenges
  • Labour shortages and skill gaps could be bridged by removing barriers for disadvantaged groups
  • House prices have risen considerably
  • Austria registered a pronounced inflow of displaced people from Ukraine

CLIMATE

  • Austria is not on track to meet ambitious climate neutrality target by 2040
  • Reducing transport-related emissions will be crucial to transition to carbon neutrality

Country Report 2022

The accompanying Country Report analyse each EU Member State’s key socioeconomic challenges with the aim of providing a framework for the coordination of social and economic policies across the European Union.

Austria's 2022 report contained a number of elements that are directly relevant to health equity.

2022 Country specific recommendations for health equity

Each spring, the European Commission and European Council make Country Specific Recommendations to provide tailored advice to individual Member States on how to boost jobs, growth and investment, while maintaining sound public finances.

Austrian Country Specific Recommendations 2022 that are most relevant for health equity

2. Boost labour market participation of women and improve labour market outcomes for disadvantaged groups

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

  • Cost of long-term care is expected to soar in coming years
  • Nursing care is expected to be increasingly affected by staff shortages
  • Primary healthcare and preventative care need to be strengthened

SOCIAL POLICY

  • Austria faces demographic changes
  • Education system faces significant challenges
  • Labour shortages and skill gaps could be bridged by removing barriers for disadvantaged groups
  • House prices have risen considerably
  • Austria registered a pronounced inflow of displaced people from Ukraine

CLIMATE

  • Austria is not on track to meet ambitious climate neutrality target by 2040
  • Reducing transport-related emissions will be crucial to transition to carbon neutrality

Country Report 2022

The accompanying Country Report analyse each EU Member State’s key socioeconomic challenges with the aim of providing a framework for the coordination of social and economic policies across the European Union.

Austria's 2022 report contained a number of elements that are directly relevant to health equity.

Project under the RRP

Enhancing and funding primary healthcare

Increasing the number of primary healthcare units and improving quality of care contribute to better health outcomes and accessibility of services.

The project 'Enhancing and funding primary health care in Austria' aims to make careers in the primary care sector more attractive by developing a Primary Health Care Platform, an information and communication hub.

It will also establish primary healthcare units and provide funding to existing units. The aim is to fund 170 primary healthcare projects by 2026, including 60 new healthcare units.

Read more about the project here.

Other projects under the Austrian Recovery and Resilience Plan

Suggestions for the future

  • Continue collaboration between health and social sector

  • Enhance early disease screening and prevention models, particularly among pregnant women and children

  • Foster equitable access to social and health services

  • Improve the attractiveness of careers within the primary healthcare sector

“The Recovery and Resilience Facility has been a great opportunity for the Austrian federal states, bringing much needed funding for wide rollout of our projects”

– Expert at Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection, Austria

"The main focus of the RRF lies on the green and digital transition. There is a need for additional supporting instruments which allow for larger, structural reforms of our health care systems.”
– Expert at Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection, Austria

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