Building health
promoting systems
fit for the future.

EuroHealthNet Annual Report June 2020-June 2021


Building health promoting systems fit for the future.

EuroHealthNet Annual Report June 2020-June 2021

7. How we work


EuroHealthNet members are accountable public bodies with responsibilities and/or expertise in public health, health promotion, health inequalities, disease prevention, or other relevant fields.

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    Usually national or regional public health institutes, authorities and government departments, they work on improving health, addressing the social determinants of health, and/or reducing health inequalities.

    Members are part of all platforms and receive additional core member services. They set the direction of the partnership.

Associate members

Associate Members are universities, civil society organisations, and others which are not necessarily statutory bodies but identify with EuroHealthNet’s mission and want to take part in our work that is most relevant to them.

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    Associate members can join one or more of the three platforms and pay a reduced fee for the more limited services received. They have no voting or governance role.

General Council

The General Council is one of EuroHealthNet’s two governing bodies. It only comprises members. The General Council meets annually to discuss progress, and to approve annual reports and budgets. The General Council also elects the Executive Board.

Executive Board

Members of the Executive Board are elected from the General Council. They serve terms of two years, during which they develop annual strategies, work plans, and budgets. The Executive Board is informed by an external evaluator.

The Executive Board is made up of:

  • Dr. Mojca Gabrijelčič Blenkuš (President)
  • Vertti Kiukas (Vice President)
  • Giovanni Gorgoni (Treasurer)
  • Prof. Plamen Dimitrov
  • Dr. Mariana Dyakova
  • Dr. Frank Lehmann
  • Lorna Renwick
  • Dr. Paolo Stocco

Read their profiles


Observers are mostly Ministries of Health. They play a specific, mutually agreed role. Their status is reviewed and granted on an annual basis by the General Council and is by invitation only. They do not have a voting or governance role.

An image of participants at the 2020 General Council Meeting
Participants at the 2020 General Council Meeting
Image of EuroHealtNet's Executive Board
EuroHealthNet's Executive Board

Online General Council Meeting

The 2020 General Council Meeting, an important annual event to bring together all EuroHealthNet members, was held in June. It was our first virtual General Council Meeting, due to pandemic travel restrictions. We were delighted with a keynote video of SANTE Commissioner Kyriakides as well as WHO Europe Regional Director, Dr Hans P. Kluge. We also heard an address by the Director of Social Affairs for the European Commission about the new ESF+, rapid transfers of resources through the COVID Response Initiatives and EU Multiannual Financial Framework, and healthy and active ageing, welfare systems and social protection.

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    During the meeting, EuroHealthNet members discussed the Partnership’s vital role in EU plans towards healthier and more equal countries and how disease prevention and health promotion must be prioritised for better access to address inequalities and non-communicable diseases, and achieve the goals of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, and the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy for healthy, equitable and sustainable foods. The Partnership reconfirmed that the future for health, social equity and sustainability lies with effective health promotion and the prevention of diseases. This will be achieved through community-based services linking people and professionals to shape the conditions for health equity and wellbeing.

    At the meeting, the partnership also discussed our activities concerning:

    • The EuroHealthNet 2021-2026 Strategic Development Plan
    • Scaling up of the collaboration between WHO Europe and EuroHealthNet
    • The results of the 2019 external evaluation
    • EuroHealthNet finances
    • The EuroHealthNet Thematic Working Group (TWIG) on Best Practice Portals for Health Promotion.
    • Plans for the EuroHealthNet and RIVM Foresight exercise.
    • Recommendations for moving forward from the COVID-19 crisis, including case study presentations from members in Sweden, Ireland and France.

    A new Executive Board was also elected during the General Council meeting, reflecting widening experiences, backgrounds and knowledge as well as expanding geographical and gender diversities in accordance with our ethos and aims.

    Prof. Mirosław J. Wysocki (National Institute of Public Health of Poland), retired as a delegate. He was warmly and unanimously thanked for his participation in EuroHealthNet for almost two decades.

    The Executive Board met seven times during 2020 (virtually): in January, April, May (twice), September, and November (twice).

Online Conference Skills for Health

On December 3, 2020, EuroHealthNet organised a high-level conference on “Skills for Health: Up- and Re-Skilling for a Sustainable Recovery” for members and other stakeholders from European, national and (sub) national levels.

Conference speakers and over 200 participants examined three aspects of skills for health: (1) changes to the world of work and new skills needed, (2) the skills for good health and wellbeing, and (3) the skills for tomorrow’s health and care systems. Speakers included Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, Vice-President and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge Teresa Ribera (Spain), and Dr Nino Berdzuli, Director of Country Health Programmes for the WHO Regional Office for Europe, amongst many others. With this conference we alerted members and the wider public health community on the EU Skills Agenda. It was a follow up to our expression of support towards the EU Pact for Skills in November 2020, where we delivered a video message.

skills for health banner

Extraordinary Policy and Strategy Meeting

Given the extraordinary impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on public health and the policy environment, the EuroHealthNet Executive Board requested an extraordinary Policy and Strategy Meeting with all EuroHealthNet members on February 24, 2021. The aim of the meeting was to inform EuroHealthNet members about the changes happening at European level and to seek input on how to shape our collaborative work.

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    The meeting offered members unique insights on recent EU and WHO policy developments and funding opportunities and helped lay the groundwork for our 2021 policy and advocacy activities and strategic direction for the post-2021 period. Member specifically discussed:

    1. The recent developments around the European Health Union, a new European initiative to protect citizens’ health, support Member States in preventing future pandemics, and make health systems more resilient.
    2. The state of play of the two main funding programmes of the European Union – the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 (The EU’s long term budget) and NextGenerationEU (a new funding facility launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic).
    3. A Memorandum of Understanding between WHO and EuroHealthNet, contributing to the WHO European Programme of Work.

    The results of the meeting were incorporated into EuroHealthNet’s Strategic Development Plan 2021-2026, as well as the WHO Europe Memorandum of Understanding.


Finance and Funding

EuroHealthNet’s funding comes from three main sources:

1) Member and associate member fees,
2) A core grant from the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)
3) Co-funded EU project grants or specific funded work

We continue to make efforts to increase the share of funding from direct participation. We do not accept funding from for-profit bodies.

In addition to internal financial management and planning, an external accountant prepares the annual financial and balance reports, which are then certified by a separate auditing firm. The General Council approves the financial reports at its annual meeting.

EuroHealthNet works in a transparent, ethical, and independent way. We have adopted a code of conduct for the organisation and membership, and ethical guidelines for partnership building. Procurement, risk management, human resource, and financial rules are set out in the EuroHealthNet ‘How We Work’ document, available on request. We consider and evaluate the environmental impacts of all actions and procurement decisions.

Thematic Working Groups (TWiGs)

EuroHealthNet members, with support from the Brussels office, continued further developing the Thematic Working Group (TWIG) on Best Practice portals, established in 2019. The TWIG divided its activities in four major working areas in 2020.

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    The first was preparing a workshop for the World Congress on Public Health (“How to improve the uptake of best practices?”).The second was co-organising a series of focus groups with Maastricht University and EuroHealthNet member BZgA. These workshops, which brought together over 60 experts in intervention design, and public health from Europe and internationally, explored criteria for evaluating transferability of best practices, using the conceptual and process PIET-T (Population, Intervention, Environment, Transfer and Transferability). Held in six sessions in early November 2020, these focus groups laid the groundwork for further development of this promising model for assessing transferability, with implications for future best practice recommendations. The third activity TWIG members engaged in was liaison with the European Commission, specifically the Joint Research Centre and DG SANTE, to explore and try to increase interlinkages between national and EU best practice portals.

    The TWIG’s recommendations to improve connections were presented to the EU Steering Group on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (SPGG) in late 2020. Finally, the group began preparation of a comparative analysis of participating national portals with the aim to publish final results in a scientific journal.

    Thematic Working Groups (TWIGs) are open to all members and partners to bring together specialists on key subjects chosen by members so they can stay up-to-date, pool knowledge, and build common positions.

External Evaluation

EuroHealthNet’s work was carefully monitored and evaluated by an external evaluator, selected through a competitive tender process to deliver our a 4-year external evaluation plan. The 2020 evaluation investigated: a) EuroHealthNet’s impact on the understanding of health inequalities at EU level; and b) its contribution to strengthening EU policy and funding initiatives related to issues of social equity and health promotion. It did so through interviews with key policy stakeholders and decision-makers at EU level, including the European Commission and Member State representations.

The evaluation broadly concluded that EuroHealthNet has been among the actors which have improved understanding of health and social inequalities – and of what works to reduce them. In addition, we can have confidence that EuroHealthNet has contributed to strengthening policy initiatives at EU level, where they are already underway, and to their implementation in practice.


EuroHealthNet’s office is based in Brussels and staffed by a skilled team of 13 employees working in a diverse and dynamic environment with highly experienced leadership by Director Caroline Costongs.

Caroline Costongs

Alba Godfrey
Project Coordinator

David Hargitt
Management Officer

Alexandra Latham
Senior Communication Coordinator

Alison Maassen
Programme Manager

Clive Needle
Senior Policy Advisor

Lina Papartyte
Project Coordinator

Vania Putatti
Policy & Liaison Officer

Renaud Rollet
Administrator & Financial Officer

Dorota Sienkiewicz
Senior Policy Coordinator

Ingrid Stegeman
Programme Manager

Chantal Verdonschot
Communications Officer

Katharina Yacoub
Communications Assistant

Thank You

Our work would not be possible without the continued commitment and support of Members and Associate Members, and the European Commission’s EaSI Programme 2018-2021. Thanks to you, we are delivering results that will create healthier, fairer futures.

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    At the General Council meeting in June 2020, Prof. Mirosław J. Wysocki (National Institute of Public Health of Poland), retired as a delegate and Executive Board member. He was thanked by all for his valuable contributions to EuroHealthNet and wished well for his future.

    We are also immensely grateful for the hard work and commitment of our team in Brussels, without such skilled and enthusiastic colleagues we wouldn’t have been able to deliver on all of the activities of this Annual Report.

    In the past year, we have said fond farewell to two valued staff members: Dr Maria Romeo and Süheyla Ugurtas and welcomed a new colleague to our communications team, Katharina Yacoub.
    We have worked with several external suppliers over the last year and are very grateful for their support. Frédéric Demaude provides accountancy services and RSM carries out financial audits. Alka provides IT support. Kwitelle, Wim Vandersleyen, and ReBrand Studio provide graphic design and publishing services. JordacheWD redeveloped and maintains our online magazine, online financing guide, and new health inequalities portal. Behived media developed our videos. BusinessAndCode manages our CRM database. Stephen Barnett is our external evaluator.

Join Us

EuroHealthNet welcomes organisations and bodies that share our vision of a fairer, healthier, and sustainable future and who are working on the determinants of health and/or inequalities.

Are you interested in working together? 

Our work would not be possible without the continued commitment and support of Members and Associate Members, and the European Commission’s EaSI Programme 2018-2021. Thanks to you, we are delivering results that will create healthier, fairer futures.

Full membership is open to accountable public bodies with responsibilities and/or expertise in public health, health promotion, health inequalities, disease prevention, or other relevant fields. They are mostly national, regional or local institutes, authorities, and government departments.

To allow non-statutory bodies such as universities, non-governmental and civil society organisations, and other international networks to become part of EuroHealthNet, the Associate Membership category was developed. Associate Members can become part of one or more platforms.

  • Contact info

    Contact us

    EuroHealthNet Office
    Rue Royale 146
    1000 Brussels – Belgium
    Tel.: + 32-2-235 03 20

    To find out about become a Member of EuroHealthNet, or about many of the other ways to become involved in our work, contact

Building health promoting systems fit for the future

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