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

  • More targeted interventions are needed to address unmet medical needs, particularly related to specialised care and mental health.

  • Efforts to increase equality through the equal pay and transparency bill have been developing well, but continuous monitoring is needed as new actors opposing such initiatives emerge.

  • A guidance protocol is being developed on how to implement the Economy of Wellbeing into government processes, learning from best practices in other countries.

The Finnish Recovery and Resilience Plan A short overview

POLICY AREA 1: Digitilisation
Improving quality and availability of telecommunication networks in remote areas 50
POLICY AREA 3: Employment and skills
Improving wellbeing at work, productivity and work ability (incl. persons with partial work ability and mental health actions) 47
Upskilling and continuous learning reform (including upskilling, raising educational attainment, reskilling and digitalisation to build new services for continuous learning) 150
POLICY AREA 4: Health and Social Services
Promoting the implementation of the care guarantee (incl. mental health services) and breaking down the social and healthcare, rehabilitation and service debt caused by COVID-19 230
Promoting the implementation of the care guarantee 30
Strengthening the knowledge base and impact-based guidance to improve cost-effectiveness of health and social services 40
Promoting digital innovations in service design 100

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.

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

1. [...] continued temporary and targeted support to households and firms most vulnerable to energy price hikes and to people fleeing Ukraine. […] Present policy proposals for the social security reform, aiming to increase the efficiency of the system of social benefits, improving incentives to work, and also supporting long-term sustainability of public finances.


  • Unmet medical needs are high, mainly due to long waiting times
  • Life expectancy in Finland is higher than in the EU as a whole


  • Rapid ageing is a major societal and economic challenge
  • Gaps in education, particularly reading, have been widening
  • Recent education reforms in early childhood and upper-secondary education have posed challenges
  • Finland has one of the lowest gender pay gaps in the EU
  • Persistent shortages of skilled labour and high structural unemployment
    point to the key role of reskilling and upskilling


  • Finland aims to become carbon-neutral and the first fossil-free welfare society by 2035
  • Finland is one of the EU Member States with the highest share of renewables
    in its energy mix.

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.

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

Project under the RRP

Assessing evidence-based practices in health and wellbeing promotion

Providing more information on the effectiveness of (evidence-based) practices that promote health and wellbeing and prevent inequalities.

The project 'Assessment of Evidence-Based Practices in Health and Wellbeing Promotion: A New Service,' aims develop a new digital service between 2022 - 2024. The idea is to provide comparative information to decision-makers and professionals about the assessed practices in health and wellbeing promotion: what practice is effective, what is not, and why?

The digital service will support knowledge management and will offer peer-reviewed information on practices’ a) effectiveness, b) evidence and c) applicability.

Read more about the project here.

Other project under the Finnish Recovery and Resilience Plan

Suggestions for investments

  • Address inequalities in access to health services between regions

  • Engrain the Economy of Wellbeing into governmental processes

  • Improve working conditions for workers in the health and education sector

  • Develop digital services including the capacity, management, accessibility, and variety

The RRP has been a good opportunity to direct not only government, but also the European Semester process away from austerity-oriented policy towards the Economy of Wellbeing.”

– Expert at the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (SOSTE), Finland

"“EuroHealthNet is coordinating a working group concerning the
assessment of practices in health and wellbeing promotion and
disease prevention. We are very happy to be part of the working
group, compare the European portals and share experiences within
the network. It’s excellent possibility to co-operate and learn together.”
– Expert at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland

This report was produced by EuroHealthNet, the European partnership of organisations, institutes, and authorities working on public health, disease prevention, promoting health and wellbeing, and reducing inequalities. We aim to tackle health inequalities within and between European States through action on the social determinants of health. Read more about us on our website.


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