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Commission’s Beating Cancer Plan a positive step towards EU Health Union but needs more ambition


04 Feb 2021


Health & Consumers

Following the Commission’s adoption of the European Beating Cancer Plan today, the Socialists and Democrats Group expressed their support for this initial positive step, calling for reinforced co-ordination and shared research among member states to ensure all citizens in the EU can rely on effective and high-quality treatment and care.

The S&D co-ordinator in the beating cancer committee, Alessandra Moretti MEP, stated:

“As progressives we have been at the forefront calling for a European Health Union to be created. As progressives, we are happy to see that the EU Commission aims at making the Beating Cancer Plan one of the main tools in the fight against one of the leading causes of death in the European Union, with a renewed, co-ordinated and more efficient approach.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has taken the spotlight off the comprehensive fight against cancer. Hence, we welcome the Plan’s proposal to map inequalities, to create an EU Network of National Comprehensive Cancer Centres and a Cancer Screening Scheme. These are very important initiatives to ensure that we have an overview of existing inequalities and to increase access to treatment and care for every patient in the EU. Going forward we need to be even more ambitious, notably to fully implement the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive and also to set minimum standards for quality healthcare to ensure equal rights in each member state

“However, we need to be even more ambitious. The S&D Group will commit through the work of the Beating Cancer Special Committee to ensuring that European citizens have equal access to screening, prevention plans, early diagnosis and high-quality treatments with enhanced co-ordination between EU institutions and member states in those fields. The connection between health and research will need to be further strengthened in order to ensure more effective and high-quality treatments, also through Horizon Europe and the planned knowledge centre on cancer. Our joint efforts must lead to equitable access to quality cancer care, treatment and prevention both within and across member states.”

The S&D co-ordinator in the environment committee, Jytte Guteland MEP, said:

“Europe´s Beating Cancer Plan, the Pharmaceutical Strategy and overall health union package, are important steps towards building a strong and inclusive European Health Union. We need to look at issues holistically to provide solutions.
“Up to 40% of all cancer cases are preventable and it is crucial that we address the causes. Therefore, we welcome the  actions listed in the plan in relation to lifestyle risk factors such as tobacco, unhealthy food and alcohol. Concrete actions are needed to ensure better prevention in relation to lifestyle factors. We welcome that the Commission proposal includes mandatory labelling with the list of ingredients and calorie content on alcoholic beverages. Consumers have the right to know!

"In addition, we need to look at environmental factors such as exposure to hazardous chemicals, not least endocrine disruptors, and ensure that our actions are aligned with the European Green Deal.”



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