Brussels, 4 September – Today EPHA’s Annual Conference entitled “Tectonic tensions – wealthy Europe’s fear of commitment” held the first of its two-day series of debates on the health priorities of the EU for the next five years. The outgoing Commissioner for Health, the former Lithuanian Health Minister and the Latvian Greek, and Portuguese Secretaries of State for Health, along with an audience of 200 people, engaged in a constructive debate just before the start of business of the new European Parliament and Commission as well as the review of the EU’s long-term objectives (Europe 2020).
Tectonic tensions – wealthy Europe’s fear of commitment
4-5 September, 2014
Residence Palace, 155 Rue de la Loi, Brussels, Belgium
The conference will continue tomorrow with two more sessions:
Attended by the Spanish Secretary of State for Health and Consumers, the first session will focus on European economic competence and health. The panel of speakers will review the effects of the Annual Growth Survey to see if the process is fit for delivering better health in all of Europe.
The closing session will look at the wider picture of health at the EU level and ask, in light of the dichotomy between public health and economic interest, whether trade agreements cater to a Union for citizens, consumers or corporations. Among other speakers, this session will bring together Ignacio Garcia-Bercero, the EU chief negotiator of the EU-US trade agreement, and Elena Bryan, senior Trade Representative of the US Mission to the EU. The event’s conclusions will be presented by Paola Testori-Coggi, Director General for DG Health and Consumers.
See here the event’s agenda
“Major inequalities in health persist across Europe and within Member States. The European Commission is keen to channel its various policies and financial tools towards helping reduce such inequalities. To pursue our shared goal of Health for all, we need innovative co-operative approaches bringing together all stakeholders, all policies at all levels,” stated Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health.
“Health is not a consequence of growth but also a condition for growth. Investments in public health increase productivity and boost job creation. Therefore health is not only a product of growth: health encourages growth,” said Mr. Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Member of the Lithuanian Parliament and former Lithuanian Minister of Health
“All the available evidence indicates that extreme health differences found within the WHO European Region reside largely in different social and economic conditions and the circumstances of life with complex causes deeply rooted across the life course. This observation is both indicating the causes of the problem and the solutions which lie in an approach that sees population health as a direct product of the social and economic conditions. With our knowledge and understanding, we can and must do a lot better and to this end WHO has developed the new European health policy framework ‘Health 2020’, one of two main strategic objectives of which is improving health for all and reducing health inequalities,” said Dr Roberto Bertollini, Chief scientist, WHO representative to the EU.
”To bring together a divided Europe, the priorities of the new European Parliament and Commission must be aligned with the expectations of citizens. This can only be achieved by a u-turn in the flawed economic policies that are exacerbating social problems in Europe. To start with, the Europe 2020 Strategy must include a public health dimension to ensure sustainable health systems, a strong health workforce, and a reduction in heath inequalities,” concluded Emma Woodford, EPHA Interim Secretary General.
Registration, photo opportunities and interview requests
Journalists can contact Javier Delgado Rivera, EPHA Communications Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (m) +32 (0) 484 919 156. A press package will be available for journalists at the registration desk.
* 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.