Tectonic tensions – wealthy Europe’s fear of commitment

4-5 September, 2014

Residence Palace, 155 Rue de la Loi, Brussels, Belgium

"Over the last few years, EPHA Annual Conferences have contributed to debates around the key issues driving public health in the EU. Leading figures from across Europe will join us this year to identify what steps European policy-makers could take to ensure that the benefits of being in the European Union contribute positively to the health and well-being of all EU citizens," said Peggy Maguire, EPHA President.

Two issues will feature highly in this event:

  • Proposals to improve public health outcomes in times of crisis

The economic crisis has been raised back up the political agenda after ECB President Mario Draghi’s speech in the US this week where he stated that the “the most recent GDP data confirm[ed] that the recovery in the euro area remains uniformly weak, with subdued wage growth even in non-stressed countries.” In a remarkable u-turn he appeared to be calling for austerity measures to be reduced with less pressure to be put on governments to follow ‘balanced-budget fundamentalism.’ For proponents of universal access to healthcare this announcement could not come soon enough, but how will it be greeted by the austerians in Europe? Austerity measures across the EU have threatened social guarantees and deepened health inequalities. The first day of the EPHA conference will draw on the expertise of such high level speakers as the European Commissioner for Health Tonio Borg and the ex-health Minister of Lithuania, Mr Andriukaitis to discuss and suggest policy options to improve well-being in the European Union as Member States struggle to cope with unemployment and a lack of growth.

  • The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

The European public health community is deeply concerned that decades of hard-fought public health gains may be set back if the TTIP is not negotiated in a way that protects social safeguards and health. These include concerns over technical barriers to trade, intellectual property rights and drug patenting, challenges to the way that the European Union and Member States regulate on food safety, chemicals, alcohol and public services. Complaints about transparency in the negotiations have been - somewhat surprisingly - addressed by the EU Trade Commissioners Karel de Gught’s recent support for the Italian Presidency initiative to persuade Member States to release the TTIP negotiation mandate. In addition, the swell of public opposition against the inclusion of ISDS in the Partnership has been boosted by opposition by Pascal Lamy, former WTO Chief and ex-EU Trade Commissioner who has publicly argued that there is no need for the Investor-State-Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism to be included in the TTIP.

High level speakers include:

  • Tonio Borg - European Commissioner for Health (DG SANCO)
  • Rinalds Mucins - State Secretary of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Latvia (*) to be confirmed
  • Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis – Member of the Lithuanian Parliament.
  • Paola Testori-Coggi – Director General for DG Health and Consumers (DG SANCO)
  • Roberto Bertollini – Director, WHO Office at the European Union
  • Agis Tsouros - Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being, WHO Regional Office for Europe
  • Pillar Farjas Abadía – Secretary of State for Health and Consumers, Spain
  • Ignacio Garcia-Bercero – EU Chief Negotiator, DG TRADE
  • Elena Bryan - Senior Trade Representative, US Mission to the EU
  • Peggy Maguire – EPHA President

- See here the provisional agenda

Registration, photo opportunities and interview requests

Journalists can contact Javier Delgado Rivera, EPHA Communications Coordinator at javier@epha.org or (t) +32 (0) 2 233 38 76 / (m) +32 (0) 484 919 156. A press package will available for journalists at the registration desk. Lunch will be provided. * Registration is mandatory.

* There will be a side event following EPHA Annual Conference - Alcohol Policy in Scotland Friday, 5th September (14:00-15:30). You can register here.

Who is EPHA?

EPHA is Europe’s leading NGO advocating for better health. We are a dynamic member-led organisation, made up of public health NGOs, patient groups, health professionals, and disease groups working together to improve health and strengthen the voice of public health in Europe.

Background readings

Last modified on August 29 2014.