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Guides on the EU Health policy.
European Commission DG Health and Consumers Contacts
Contacts of the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers.
Plant health: Harmful organisms
The aim of the Community plant health regime is to prevent the introduction into the community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products or their spread within the Community. In order to meet the this aim, rights and obligations are placed upon Member States to regulate the movement of plants or plant products within their territory and to regulate the introduction of plants or plant products into the Community from third countries. Obligations are placed upon third countries which want to export plants or plant products to the Community.
Trade and Imports of Animal Products - personal consignments
Personal consignments containing meat, milk or their products and brought into the EU continue to present a real threat to animal health throughout the EU. Hence pathogens could be introduced into the EU if personal consignments containing meat, milk or their products are sent by post or carried in the baggage of travellers arriving from countries outside the EU, where such pathogens may be circulating.
Nutrition and health claims
Nutrition and health claims which encourage consumers to purchase a product, but are false, misleading or not scientifically proven are prohibited. The aim is to improve protection of consumers’ health and rights. European legislation has created a list of nutrition and health claims and the conditions for their authorisation which applies throughout the EU.
Labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs
Pre-packaged foodstuffs must comply with compulsory harmonised EU standards on labelling and advertising. The details that must appear on packaging include the name under which the product is sold, a list of ingredients and quantities, potential allergens (products which may cause allergies), the minimum durability date and conditions for keeping.
Quality and safety standards for human blood and blood components
The extent to which human blood is used therapeutically demands that the quality and safety of whole blood and blood components be ensured in order, in particular, to prevent the transmission of diseases. This EU Directive lays down high standards of quality and safety of human blood and blood components throughout the Community. The objective is to introduce a comprehensive package of binding rules applicable throughout the whole blood transfusion chain.
Organ donation and transplantation in the EU
Organ transplantation remains essential for the treatment of certain diseases. However, several factors must be taken into consideration where this therapeutic method is concerned: the risk of transmission of disease, the limited supply of organs and organ trafficking. This EU communication therefore aims to present the various potential options to ensure the quality and safety of organs, increase their availability and combat organ trafficking.
Sixth Environment Action Programme
The EU defines the priorities and objectives of European environment policy up to 2010 and beyond and describes the measures to be taken to help implement its sustainable development strategy.
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.