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Guides on the EU Health policy.
Cross-border healthcare: patients' rights
The freedom to provide and receive health services throughout the European Union must be accompanied by guarantees of quality and security.
Reducing health inequalities in the EU - briefing
The European Commission has announced a series of actions to help EU Member States and other actors tackle the gaps in health which exist between and within countries in the EU. Despite increased prosperity and overall improvements in health in the EU, health differences between and within countries persist and in some cases are increasing. Difference in life expectancy at birth between Member States reach up to 8 years for women and 14 years for men. The reasons behind these differences are complex and involve a wide range of factors from income, education, living and working conditions, health behaviours to access to healthcare. A possible consequence of the current financial crisis is that this health gap will increase in the groups most hit by the recession such as the unemployed. The Commission initiative identifies action for improving knowledge on this issue, better monitoring and data collection, more assessment of how EU policies can tackle health inequalities and work with countries, regions and stakeholders.
EU Health Contacts
 
SMEs in EU Health Research
Research-intensive small and medium-sized enterprises - SMEs are the main economic drivers of healthcare, biotechnology and medical technologies. High-tech SMEs in the health and biotechnology sectors are expected to play a prominent role in FP7 Health theme funded projects.
The EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7)
The objective of health research under the European Union's FP7 programme is to improve the health of European citizens and boost the competitiveness of health-related industries and businesses, as well as address global health issues.
High Level Group on EU Health Services and Medical Care
The 2003 report of the patient mobility reflection process represented a political milestone by recognising the potential value of European cooperation in helping EU Member States to achieve their health objectives. The Commission set out its response to the report of the reflection process in Communication COM (2004) 301 of 20 April 2004.
The EU's Second Programme of Community Action in the Field of Health 2008-2013
The European Union's Health Programme 2008-2013 is intended to complement, support and add value to the policies of the Member States and contribute to increased solidarity and prosperity in the European Union by protecting and promoting human health and safety and by improving public health. Under the new Programme, participation and consultation with stakeholders are promoted. The financial envelope for the programme is EUR: 321 500 000.
EU Health Strategy Overview
Most competence for action in the field of health is held by European Union Member States, but the EU has the responsibility, set out in the Treaty, to undertake certain actions which complement the work done by Member States, for example in relation to cross border health threats, patient mobility, and reducing health inequalities.
Alzheimer's disease and other dementias - EC Communication
The objective of this Communication is to set out actions providing support to EU Member States in ensuring effective and efficient recognition, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care, and research for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in Europe. This will, in turn, contribute to the overarching goal - an improvement in health outcomes, and therefore a growth in Healthy Life Years, a key Lisbon Strategy indicator. The primary responsibility for tackling dementias lies with the Member States. However, in the area of health under Article 152 of the Treaty, the Community is to encourage cooperation between the Member States and if necessary to lend support to their action. The specific characteristics of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias single them out as a domain of potential European added value.
Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation on a pilot joint programming initiative to combat neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Alzheimer's - briefing
Today, the European Commission adopted concrete proposals to tackle Alzheimer’s disease, dementias and other neurodegenerative conditions. These shared health and social challenges in Europe call for coordinated actions to ensure efficient prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for those affected. In addition, European countries are also invited to pool their resources and better coordinate their research efforts in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, and Alzheimer’s in particular, by programming their research investments jointly for the first time, instead of each separately. There are currently over seven million people with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders in Europe and it is predicted that this number will double in the next 20 years. It is vital to plan, invest and cooperate in this field today both to control the social costs of these diseases as well as to offer hope, dignity and healthier lives to the millions of sufferers and their families. Today's actions mark important new steps both in the Commission's 'Europe for Patients campaign' and the new approach of Joint Programming in research.
Commission proposal on smoke-free environments - briefing
The European Commission has adopted, after extensive consultation, a proposal for an European Union Council Recommendation calling on all the EU Member States to bring in laws to protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke by 2012. Tobacco remains the largest single cause of premature death and disease in the European Union. According to conservative estimates, 79,000 adults, including 19,000 non-smokers, died in the EU-25 in 2002 due to exposure to tobacco smoke at home (72,000) and in their workplace (7,300).
Action against Cancer: A European Partnership - briefing
The European Commission on 24 June set up a European Partnership for Action against Cancer, reinforcing its long-term commitment to the fight against cancer. The partnership will focus on actions that can be taken at EU level to more effectively prevent and control cancer across Europe. In Europe, one in three people will develop cancer in their lifetime. This translates to 3.2 million people being diagnosed with the disease every year. Cancer is not equally distributed in Europe and the chances of surviving cancer differ greatly between countries. By bringing together all relevant organisations working on cancer, the intention is to identify gaps, address needs and learn from each other.
European Partnership Action Against Cancer: contribution of EU-funded research
On 24 June, the European Commission adopted the Communication, 'Action Against Cancer: European Partnership', to support the Member States in their efforts to tackle this major health challenge. One of the four proposed areas for action within this Partnership is the coordination of cancer research. This background note provides further information on the European Union's commitment to cancer research and its coordination in Europe.
Bathing water quality - Annual report, 2009 bathing season
The annual bathing water report presented by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency on 10 June reveals that the large majority of bathing sites across the European Union met EU hygiene standards in 2008. During that bathing season some 96% of coastal bathing areas and 92% of bathing sites in rivers and lakes complied with minimum standards. The report provides useful water quality information for the millions of people who visit Europe's beaches every summer.
Human swine influenza A(H1N1) - briefing
Swine influenza (swine flu) is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract in pigs caused by type A influenza virus. The mortality rate is low in pigs and recovery usually occurs within 7-10 days. Swine origin influenza viruses also occur in wild birds, poultry, horses and humans, but interspecies transmission is considered a rare event. So far three influenza type A virus subtypes: H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2 have been found in pigs.
EU pesticide review programme
The European Commission made today an important step forward in its efforts to ensure improved protection of human health and the environment, as it completed the review of existing pesticides that were on the market before 1993. This programme concerned about 1,000 substances, of which about 250 have passed the harmonised EU safety assessment. All reviewed pesticides have undergone a detailed risk evaluation with respect to their effects on humans and on the environment. This important achievement is the result of a considerable joint effort by the Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Member States.
Report on cancer screening in Europe - briefing
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the European Union. Breast, cervical and colorectal cancer accounts for 32% of cancer deaths in women and 11% in men. With an ageing population, the figures are due to increase, unless preventive measures are taken to reduce cancer deaths. The European Union shares a common commitment to ensuring proper screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, as set out in Council Recommendation of 2 December 2003 on cancer screening (2003/878/EC). In the first implementation report, the European Commission highlights that although much progress has been made in the field of cancer screening, Member States have not fully put this screening in place. Less than half of the minimum recommended numbers of screenings take place in the EU each year. By providing a clear description of the situation and the gaps, this report helps to renew the commitment to put in place breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening as a crucial and cost-effective measure to reduce the burden of cancer in the European Union.
Patient safety in Europe - briefing
Each year, in the EU, between 8% and 12% of patients admitted to hospitals suffer harm from the healthcare they receive, including from healthcare associated infections. Much of that harm is preventable, says the European Commission. Today, the Commission has adopted a Communication and proposal for a Council Recommendation with specific actions that EU Member States can take, either individually, collectively or with the Commission, to improve the safety of patients.
EU Directive and Action Plan on organ donation and transplantation - briefing
The European Commission has adopted important safety and quality measures for organ donation and a 10 point action plan to work with EU Member States on strengthening organ donation and transplantation systems in Europe. For many patients, organ transplantation represents the only life saving treatment available. There are currently 56,000 patients waiting for a suitable organ donor in the EU. It is estimated that every day 12 people die while waiting for transplantation. The Directive and Action Plan address three key challenges: improving the quality and safety of organs across Europe, increasing organ availability and making transplant systems more efficient and accessible.
EU approach to tackling Rare Diseases - briefing
The European Commission adopted on 11 November 2008 a Communication and a proposal for a Council Recommendation on rare diseases setting out an overall Community strategy to support EU Member States in diagnosing, treating and caring for the 36 million EU citizens with rare diseases. The limited number of patients affected and the fragmentation of knowledge about them across the European Union, makes rare diseases a prime example of where working at European level is necessary and beneficial.