EU Directive to Increase Patient Mobility

Swedish Minister for Social Welfare, Göran Hägglund, is confident that he will be able to achieve a finished EU Directive on patient mobility before the end of the Swedish Presidency. After the EU Minister meeting in Jönköping had drawn to a close on Tuesday afternoon, Hägglund told Swedish News agency TT that he is not worried about the opposition voiced by Spain.

Citizens in EU countries have the right to health care in other EU member states and to have the treatment financed by their own country. This has been established in the European Court of Justice. But in order to spare patients the hassle of going to court to be reimbursed, EU legislation on the matter has been on the cards for some time in the form of the so called Patient Mobility Directive.

One of the reasons why Hägglund is so eager to conclude the matter within the next 6 months is because Spain, the country that has the most objections to the proposal, is due to take over the presidency after Sweden. It would not be in the interest of those in favour of the directive if it was delayed until then.

Despite Spain’s Social Minister Trinidad Jimenez Garcia-Herrera having raised severe objections to the proposal during the Jönköping meeting Hägglund does not foresee Spain’s resistance as posing a serious problem.

“We have gone from discussing ‘if’ we will have this directive to ‘how’ we are going to achieve it,” he told TT.