Access to and Effects on Social Protection, Health and Educational Systems

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Good public health requires not only high environmental standards, medicinal supply and supportive public policies, but also inter-sectoral efforts are necessary to ensure sustainable public health. Impact Assessment needs hence to explore the various linkages between the affected sectors, the spatial impacts with regard to accessibility (e.g. transport) and the avoidance to price and stock monopoles for medicinal goods and facilities. 
Education, including formal education, public awareness and training, should be recognised as a process by which human beings and societies can reach their full potential. Benefit payment for those who are unemployed or on low incomes, assistance to the elderly and disabled to meet their special needs, and support to other members of society in need of specialist help or advice are important in terms of sustainable development on the individual level as well as social cohesion.
Above the mere provision of the infrastructure and the services, the main issue is the ability of the population to gain access to services and facilities. This relates to the proximity of services and facilities to the locations where people live and work, the ease with which those services and facilities can be accessed, as well as the length and convenience of the services' opening hours. As with the provision of infrastructure and services, the geographical and socio-economic variation is important as those with continuous access to a car will have a greater access to facilities than those who have to rely on public transport or walking. Every individual should have the opportunity to reach their potential and have access to education regardless of ethnic background, religion, gender, age or geographical location.

This impact area is further specified by the taxonomy terms: Quality and access to social, health and education systems; Education and mobility of workers; Access to education and vocational training; Cross-border provision of social services; Financing, organisation and access to social, health and education systems; and Universities and academic freedom.

This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents.

Relevant Policies

Legal Basis for the Commission to act

The Amsterdam Treaty (Article A) is aimed at developing citizenship of the Union, not just in a legal sense but also through the fulfilment of the ideal of a Europe close to its citizens. This means seeking to encourage people's practical involvement in the democratic process at all levels, and most particularly at European level. Action in the field of education and training offers a privileged vehicle for the promotion of active participation in Europe's rich cultural diversity. Article 149 of the Amsterdam Treaty requires the Community to contribute to the development of quality education by supporting and supplementing action taken by the Member States, while fully respecting their cultural and linguistic diversity as regards the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems. Article 150 of the Treaty requires the implementation of a vocational training policy to support and supplement the action taken by Member States.

Web Resources

European Commission DG Employment:

European Commission’s Education and Training:


Related Terms

Quality and access to social, health and education systems

Education and mobility of workers

Access to education and vocational training

Cross-border provision of social services

Financing, organisation and access to social, health and education systems

Universities and academic freedom.