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European Health Forum Gastein honoured for promoting health in South-Eastern Europe


21 Oct 2011


Health & Consumers

At the third South-Eastern Europe Health Ministers Forum in Banja Luka, tribute was paid to the work of the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) in promoting health policy efforts in the region. In the "Banja Luka Pledge", co-signed by EHFG President Prof Guenther Leiner, partners defined guidelines for future cooperation.

Bad Hofgastein, October 20, 2011 – Meeting in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina) from October 13-14, on the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the South-Eastern European Health Network (SEEHN), health ministers and senior officials representing its 10 member countries paid tribute to the work of the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) and of its president, Prof Guenther Leiner, in advancing the cause of health in the region. The SEEHN Forum was meeting to discuss health as a shared regional goal and responsibility, and to sign a “Banja Luka Pledge” on future cooperation on health across South-Eastern Europe, with the accent on introducing health into all aspects of public policy, long a leitmotif of EHFG thinking.

“I am proud to be invited to co-sign this document,” said President Leiner. “At the European Health Forum Gastein we have always encouraged this network and been pleased to see it grow so robustly. SEEHN is delivering the kind of mutual support and forward thinking which this region needs – perhaps more than any other in Europe. In health policy it is indispensable at a time when every penny counts and precious resources need to be used as intelligently as possible.” This “European way of thinking” had inspired the EHFG itself back in the 1990s, said the EHFG President. “As we have discovered in the EU, there are so many ways of improving health by finding and exploiting synergies.”

EHFG Secretary-General Matthias Schuppe said that a high-level SEE forum, co-organised by EHFG and SEEHN supported by the European Commission and the Slovenian Ministry of Health, would be held within the framework of next year’s EHFG conference in October 2012. This would focus on the transposition of the acquis communautaire for health systems and policies in SEE countries.

SEEHN, a unique body, was set up in the context of the Stability Pact for South East Europe, following the conflicts which tore through much of the region in the 1990s. Supported by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) it is made up of the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to promote not only health but peace and reconciliation, and receives technical support for health projects from the World Health Organisation (WHO). At the Banja Luka meeting which was also attended by the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the Council of Europe Development Bank, and the International Organisation for Migration and policy-makers from a wide range of different sectors, Israel was welcomed into the network as a full member.

EHFG Press Office:

Dr. Birgit Kofler

B&K Medien- und Kommunikationsberatung

Phone: +43 /(0)1 / 319 43 78 13,

Mobile: +43/(0)676 636 89 30