Slow take up of EU Directive

Destinations around the world welcomed 956 million international tourists between January and September 2016. Demand for international tourism remained robust in the first nine months of 2016.

Official European Commission figures for cross-border care in thirty EU and EEA states have been published but they are not complete and are disappointing for those who thought that the EU Cross-Border Directive would mean many thousands of people crossing border for state or insurer paid healthcare.

Austria, Finland, France, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Portugal did not provide any information.

Of the 23 countries who did give figures, most either provided partial data or could/would not extract figures from the totals that included unplanned treatment under the European Health Insurance Card. Poland had 31,376 information requests – four times any other country.

Most countries had less than 100 prior authorisation requests in 2015; with only half authorised. Six countries have rules that limit how the directive applies. Germany was the country that most people wanted to get treated in. Luxembourg had the most requests at 334, and the highest number of authorised ones at 253.

Number of approved requests for prior authorised treatment in 2015








On requests for treatment not subject to prior authorisation, Belgium and Denmark each had over 30,000 requests and the top two countries for being treated in were Germany and Spain.

Belgium refused over 25,000 requests, Denmark refused over 6,000, Norway refused over 3,000 and the UK refused 611. Cyprus and Hungary had no requests at all while Malta turned down all 3.

Number of approved requests for other authorised treatment in 2015