Since then the EHFG has developed into a key annual event, bringing together politicians, senior decision-makers and representatives of interest groups. Experts coming from public and private sectors, civil society and science and academia form the four groups of stakeholders which constitute the four pillars of the EHFG with their specific perspectives and knowledge.

The EHFG further considers the vertical organisation of societies and the EU by integrating regional, national, European and international levels and thus facilitating the exchange of views and experience amongst key actors and experts from the 28 EU members and the EEA countries, but also from the 52 countries of the WHO European region.

Over the past decade, the EHFG has established itself as an indispensable institution in the scope of European health policy. It has made a decisive contribution to the development of guidelines and above all the cross-border exchange of experience, information and cooperation.

Over 500 leading experts participate in the annual conference held in the Gastein Valley in the Austrian Alps for three days in October. The unparalleled mix of participants is especially critical to the success of this event.

EHFG Archive

The four pillars - EHFG participants (2019)

Objectives & Goals

We provide the forum for discussion to our key stakeholders to network, learn from each other, share the latest health policy developments in their countries and across Europe, and shape the future of health.

Thinking Europe

We focus primarily on health policy in Europe, at all political levels.

Gathering key people

Leaders from all health stakeholder groups meet & debate in Gastein.

Shaping health

We report to key European & national institutions, feeding into future policies.

Featuring big issues

Discuss with senior experts & get a 360° view on major topics.

President's Message

Our impact

... as discussed in Gastein

The EHFG produces a catalogue of recommendations and observations – the Gastein Outcomes - for those with responsibility in health policy development and implementation. These are communicated to the national and European institutions. The recommendations are supported by the subsequent publication of a full scientific report of the proceedings.

Outcomes 2019


The EHFG finances are made up of sponsoring from conference sessions, conference participation fees and other financial contributions, such as subventions and grants. The organisation's founding principle is the equal representation of its four pillars, irrespective of their financial contribution to sustaining the EHFG.    

The graph below shows the percentage contribution different sectors make to the overall revenue of the organisation.  

Our yearly revenue (2019)

The EHFG over the years

1998: First EHFG Conference

First conference held under the main theme of Creating a better future for health systems in Europe. Topics discussed then: European Health Policy at the Turn of the Millennium, Global Development, National Responsibility and Regional Challenge in a Changing Europe and International Networks.

2000: Information & Communication in Health

Reaching 450 delegates. Focus on: health information, adapting IT applications to the needs of health services and improving communication about health risks. A place to be for the back-then EU Applicant CEE countries.

2001: Integrating Health across Policies

The necessity of integrating health into different policy areas will remain high on the agenda throughout the years.

2007: Anniversary Edition

Reaching 600 delegates! On the occasion of its 10th anniversary the EHFG has founded the European Health Award (EHA) and the Young Forum Gastein Network initiatives.

2009: Financial Crisis & Health Policy

Drawing attention to the impact of financial crisis and subsequent economic recession on the health systems of Europe and beyond. Health economics, health systems performance and austerity measures will remain on the agenda in the coming years.

2012: New EHFG Presidency

After leading the EHFG for 15 years, founding-father Professor Günther Leiner hands over the presidency to Professor Helmut Brand. MEP Karin Kadenbach is elected Vice-President.

2016: Demographics & Diversity

Featuring an EU Presidency-Trio debate & Nobel Prize Laureate on stage. Topics on the agenda: population ageing, the rise of multi-morbidity, increased societal diversity and migratory pressures.

2017: 3rd EHFG president elected

In the 2017 board elections, Clemens Martin Auer, Director General at the Austrian Ministry for Health & Women's Affairs was elected the new EHFG President.

2018: Health and Sustainable Development

At the 21st EHFG conference, health policy experts acknowledged the necessity to avoid reversing the strides achieved in improving the health of Europeans and raised concerns about the possible impact of the 2019 European elections on Europe’s health agenda.

2019: A healthy dose of disruption?

The 22nd edition of the EHFG conference hosted 600 leading health policy experts agreeing on the need for disruptive changes for health and societal well-being.

2020: Dancing with elephants

This year, the EHFG will address the fact that determinants of health and well-being are often driven by the narrow interests of big players. In order to engage with these giants and safeguard the interests of people and patients, it is necessary to devise potentially difficult new partnership models – “dancing with elephants”.