15 July 2014, Brussels –The European Parliament has confirmed Jean-Claude Juncker as the new President of the European Commission. EPHA would like to congratulate Mr Juncker for the confirmation and urges him to commit his 2014-2019 mandate to the health and well-being of people living in Europe.
“Health is one of the main concerns of people living in Europe. Bringing the activities of the European Union in line with people’s priorities is essential to creating a union that serves the people as Mr Juncker pledged (1) he would in his European election campaign,” said Emma Woodford, EPHA Interim Secretary General.
Mr Juncker’s European People’s Party won the most seats in the last elections for the European Parliament. To live up to the trust placed in him by his voters Mr Junker needs to design a plan for the EU’s economy that prioritises health, social outcomes and decent work (2) rather than narrow economic interests. As a starting point, Mr Juncker should push for stronger health and quality employment dimensions in a Europe 2020 (3) strategy that also supports the achievement of an inclusive economy, well-being and social inclusion (4).
In his hearing today, Mr Juncker promised to carry out social impact assessments of austerity measures. Given that health is a fairly accurate way to measure sustainable development and inclusive growth, the new Commission must take this a step further and implement health impact assessments (5) as well.
Another area where Mr Juncker can make a difference is in the EU-US Trade and Investment Partnership (known as TTIP) - a pact in which the Commission has the opportunity to show its commitment to public health, as well as to the protection of social rights and environmental standards. EPHA calls on the new Commission to work on a new approach to better regulation that puts people’s needs on a par with the interests of big business.
“For millions of people living in Europe, the EU has not been able to deliver on the issues that matter the most to them. The new Commission faces the challenge of regaining trust lost (6) in the European project. The goal of smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth that meets the needs of the people must top Mr Juncker’s to-do list for the next five years,” concluded Ms Woodford.
(1) EU Elections 2014 – delivering growth and jobs in EU’s regions and cities, summit hosted by the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions & Mr Juncker, Commission president-nominated, and his EPP priorities on health and social issues.
(2) EU Elections 2014 - What will they mean for health policy for the next five years?
(4) EPHA’s Manifesto for the European elections calls on the EU to ensure that health and well-being are ranked as highly as they are valued by; 1) refocusing Europe’s Business Plan on to the well-being of people; 2) creating a people-centric economy - ensuring quality work for all; 3) creating an inclusive, sustainable society; and 4) by developing strong public-interest based health policy.
(6) [EPHA Press statement] European voters demand urgent shift from business as usual.
Javier Delgado Rivera, EPHA Communications Coordinator at email@example.com or +32 (0) 2 230 3076.
[Press statement] EPHA calls on new Commission president to put people’s needs first