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The International Association of Health Policy in Europe (IAHPE) held its 18th conference on 21-24 September in Thessaloniki (Greece). Researchers, academics and activists – many of them linked to the People's Health Movement – came from all over the world to share and exchange on the topic of “European health policies in the era of capitalist crisis and restructuring”. The conference provided a rich space to build critical analysis of the connections between political economy and health, and to discuss extremely relevant issues such as the right to health for refugees and the links between the health of people and the health of the planet. At the core of all discussions, a view that a deep change in our system – away from neoliberalism and its endless pursuit of economic growth and profit – is needed for any progressive health policy to be sustainable. Increased solidarity and synergies between academic work, knowledge generation and social movements are a needed step in this direction, and IAHPE seems very well placed to play its role.