Health and Consumer Programmes 2014-2020

The present health programmes will come to an end in 2013. Two new programme proposals have now been adopted by the European Commission:

1.    Health for Growth Programme
It will give Member States support to develop health systems in an innovative and sustainable way, access to healthcare shall be increased which again will prevent diseases. Citizens shall also be protected of cross border health threats. Budget: €446 million (2014-2020)
2.    Consumer Programme
The objective here is to empower consumers. This means that these can actively participate in the market by being informed and empowered. Also consumer rights shall be strengthened. This will hopefully lead to informed and knowledgeable consumers which can then demand good value, quality and service! Budget: €197 million (2014-2020).

These programmes contribute to objectives of Europe2020. And to remind you that is the EU’s growth strategy. It was initiated so that our economy becomes more sustainable. It has objectives in the field of:
•    Employment
•    Innovation
•    Education
•    Social inclusion
•    Climate/energy

And as we already know wealth and health are related. Health can be influenced by different policies of other sectors but healthy and active citizens have a positive effect on the economy.

So hopefully these programmes will evolve to win-win situation!!

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The Priorities of the Polish Presidency regarding Health

On 1 July 2011 Poland will take over the presidency of the EU council. The presidency will focus its efforts on topics such as diseases without borders, innovation and ageing. The main priorities of the presidency in regards to health are: closing the gap in health between the countries of the EU, preventing and controlling respiratory diseases in children, preventing and treating communication disorders in children, preventing brain diseases and neurodegenerative diseases and providing more information to consumers about pharmaceuticals. These priorities will be accomplished by utilizing promotional tools to educate society and influence their behaviour from the earliest stages of life and by introducing new technologies to limit and fight these disorders such as screening tests programs. Also, the presidency hopes to create a network of institutions monitoring health phenomena and stimulate more research on brain disease to help in treatment in prevention. With these priorities set in place, the young and the elderly of society will be benefited!




EU Green Paper focussing on Research and Innovation

Present and future challenges such as an ageing population and climate change are the focus of the Europe 2020 strategy. To meet these challenges, innovation and research are vital instruments. Therefore, the European Commission has recently presented a Green Paper proposing to integrate all EU research and innovation into a Common Strategic Framework and thereby making considerable changes to EU research and innovation funding. The principal idea of the suggestion is to make the process of turning knowledge into innovation more efficient.

EU paving the way for combating mountains of plastic bags

Plastic bags are used for a couple of minutes, but they pollute the environment for decades. Since plastic particles may contain additives such as persistent organic pollutants, the tiny particles pose a serious threat to our health by contaminating soil and waterways. To reduce the mountains of plastic carrier bags in Europe, the European Commission has started a public consultation on how to cope with the problem in the best possible way. The options and suggestions range from charging and taxation to a full EU-level ban on plastic carrier bags. On average, a single EU citizen uses approximately 500 plastic bags each year. Due to their low weight and small size, plastic bags often evade waste management and end up floating in the sea. The Commission’s consultation is accessible until August 2011.

More effective measures to tackle drug trafficking

About 1, 5 Mio European citizens consume cocaine every month. Thereby, an illicit market worth 550 Mio Euro a month is created. To tackle this problem more effectively, the Commission decided to intensify the combat against drugs in the event of the G8 ministerial meeting in Paris on May 10th. For instance, new technologies will be introduced to EUROSUR, the European border surveillance system in order to improve border surveillance and prevent cross-border drug trafficking. In this context, cooperation with international partners is a key factor for containing organized crime.