Background: Health-related cooperation between neighbouring countries has a long tradition in the European Union, especially in the transfrontier structures well-known under the label of Euregio or Euroregion.
Objective: Overview and analysis of cross-border health-related activities in the Euregios.
Methods: The EU-funded project "EUREGIO" carried out a systematic inventory analysis of cross-border health projects. It is based on written surveys among 53 Interreg IIIA secretariats, 67 Euregios and 328 project bodies. The responses of 122 health projects were considered.
Results: 37 Euregios or similar cross-border structures established health-relevant working groups, working circles, forums or projects. The cross-border health projects cover a wide spectrum of issues, e.g., education and training, patient care, prevention, and disaster control. Target groups were in most cases medical personnel, patients or decision-making bodies. Four official criteria for cooperation (joint project development, implementation, staffing and financing) are met by the great majority of projects. However, the survey shows a lack of information, publication and evaluation.
Conclusions: Cross-border cooperation in health is underrepresented in many regions. The project results point to great potentials which should be further developed both in terms of quantitative and qualitative aspects. Recommendations are given for project actors and stakeholders.