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July-August 2015 Newsletter - Is a Union for Health already within reach?

Is a Union for Health already within reach? For the European Commission and Parliament, the summer holidays are a time for relaxation; a time to maybe reflect on the past political year and to see what’s ahead for ’la rentrée’ (return to work) in Brussels. This year, the new political calendar will get off to a thought-provoking start with EPHA’s Annual Conference on 2-3 September. The theme of our conference will be ’Towards a European Union for (...)

June 2015 Newsletter - Putting evidence-based public health policies at the heart of migration policies

This month we present a guest editorial by Frank Vanbiervliet, from EPHA member Doctors of the World – Médecins du monde International Network, on a pressing public health issue: the EU’s migration agenda. Putting evidence-based public health policies at the heart of migration policies It is estimated that over 20,000 people have lost their lives along Europe’s borders over the past 20 years, with almost 2,000 of them perishing in the Mediterranean since the start of (...)

May 2015 Newsletter - Better regulation for whom?

Better Regulation for whom? If the European Commission’s new "Better Regulation" drive announced on 19th May sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. It’s designed to placate eurosceptics (especially in the UK and the Netherlands), but as the reality unfolds it will erode public support for the EU even further. Because for health, consumers, workers and the environment, it looks worse, not better. And these are the things that the EU does best - its track record (...)

April 2015 Newsletter

Is the Commission coming unstuck on health? As new Brussels media outlet, Politico.eu, has aptly noted this week, EU health policy seems to be stuck in the Brussels mud. Despite the apparent best intentions of the Commissioner for Health, the instruction from the top since the arrival of the Juncker Commission seems to be to do nothing til further notice. Hands at SANTE and most other Commission departments seem to be tied. They’re not the only ones feeling the frustration, EU (...)

March 2015 Newsletter

Whilst the negotiations on the EU-US ’TTIP’ trade deal give the health community plenty of cause for concern, one positive aspect is that they’re getting lots of attention from Members of the European Parliament. Rightly so. Currently 14 Parliament committees are preparing their Opinions to send to the International Trade committee for a vote in May expressing the Parliament’s priorities for the deal. Top priority must be to ensure that the deal is a good one for (...)

February 2015 Newsletter

The question of who provides scientific advice to policy-makers at the European Commission is challenging and controversial. While the EU promotes science to support innovation and economic growth, using science for ’evidence-based’ public policy remains work in progress. Civil society organisations need to discuss how independent science advice can best be provided for decision-making. Science advice for health policy: shoot the messenger? Guest editorial by Professor Mark (...)

January 2015 Newsletter

Following a month of soul searching and upheaval in Europe, the eyes of the media have returned largely to the economy and particularly to Greece’s role in the Eurozone under a far left government which rejects austerity. But the overwhelming vote for Syriza in Greece, swelling support for Podemos in Spain, growing fringe parties including the Greens and Eurosceptic UKIP in the UK and even an anti-Euro party AfD in Germany are not only indictments of economic policies but also a call (...)

December 2014 Newsletter

19 December - The European Commission has adopted its plans for 2015 this week, calling the new Work Programme an "agenda for change" which should bring concrete benefits for citizens to restore some faith in the EU. That’s a pretty big resolution for the new year. The EU’s new year’s resolutions The main headline is a new Investment Plan for Europe. With a bit of festive magic, the plan should turn €21billion of seed money from the EU’s budget and European (...)

November 2014 Newsletter

28 November - As the new intake of European Parliament members and Jean-Claude Juncker’s Commission settle into their new offices and start to make plans for the coming years, they will face some critical tests of their commitments to protecting and improving public health. The resounding message from the European Parliament elections, with its desperately poor turn-out and swings to protest parties, was that the EU must do better and prove in whose interests it acts. An early (...)

October 2014 Newsletter

31 October 2014, Brussels – The last month has been extremely eventful for EPHA and the public health community with the European Parliament hearings of the new Commission and, of course, the campaign for pharmaceuticals and medical devices to stay in the health directorate. We were thrilled to see the way Commissioner-designate Andriukaitis handled his hearing and the vote of confidence from the EP that paved the way for him to become the Commissioner for Health and Safety. We are (...)

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