Health campaigners today called on European governments to act boldly and quickly to protect the health and well-being of this generation and future generations to come in Europe. A healthy population is essential for economic recovery and continued growth. Healthy individuals create, find and keep jobs, as well as being better able to cope with insecurity and stress. Not only are healthy Europeans key to our emergence from the crisis, but the health sector makes up 10% EU GDP and health services together with associated organisations are amongst Europe’s largest employers

Short-term solutions of cutting health and social expenditure proposed in some Member States risk damaging the economic recovery prospects for Europe as a whole. Lessons from crashes throughout the last century show that countries who invested in health and health services performed more better than those who reduced investment. The EU Summit should draw on these lessons and show leadership in bold action.

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) has publicly supported European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso in his call on Member States to put a special emphasis on the "social consequences of the economic crisis." "It is no longer a financial crisis, but a human crisis," said Monika Kosinska, EPHA Secretary General, earlier today. "We are seeing an increase in those at risk from depression and suicide. Stress affects not only the individual but their families and communities. People who lose their health are less likely to find employment and will find it more difficult to get back on their feet. Some of us will never recover."

EPHA is amongst the members of the EU Health Policy Forum who called on European governments earlier this month in an open letter to do all within their power to protect health. Members of the forum stress the need for leadership and bold and decisive action to prioritise, protect and provide for the health of citizens.

Every public survey shows health at the top of citizens’ concerns, and governments cannot afford to ignore citizens’ at this crucial time.

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For further information

- EPHA Press Relase published on the EU Health Portal

EPHA related articles

- article 3432

- article 3387

- The contribution of health to the economy in the European Union

- article 3436

Last modified on March 31 2009.