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24 Apr 2009


Health & Consumers

On 23 April 2009, the European Parliament ENVI Working Group on Health held a debate on “What is the Added Value of EU health policies for National Health Systems?” During the discussions, there was a special emphasis on the financial crisis and its implications on the Health Gap between "Old" and "New" Member States.

This event was hosted by MEP Georgs Andrejevs (speech attached) and organised in collaboration with the CPME, the Standing Committee for European Doctors. Commissioner Vassiliou opened the event with a powerful key note speech (see attached).

As a result of this meeting, the following call was adopted:

Creating opportunities for Healthcare

During a period of economic recession, one of the most sensitive challenges for the EU and Member States is providing the healthcare that people need.

In the area of health, inefficiency in terms of choices, policy making and performance management is not only tremendously costly, but can raise ethical questions as it deprives potential patients of the care they could benefit from. There is therefore a political need to promote, as soon as possible, health related actions because this sector runs the risk of being deeply challenged by the economic recession and budgetary constraints.

Member States do not have the choice whether to address health issues or not. Even before the onset of the economic crisis Member States identified the need for adjustments to their social and health policies so as to ensure their long-term sustainability. The fact that Member States retain their competencies in organizing, providing and funding the healthcare of their citizens should not preclude the EU from providing support.

The EU could play a role namely by: promoting policy sharing and benchmarks, patient safety, addressing the issue of health inequalities, etc. The EU’s added value has already been proven in addressing gaps in citizens’ access to healthcare (e.g. HIV/AIDS, cancer, inequalities in health, cross-border care, rare diseases).

In the run up to elections for a new European Parliament and the establishment of the new European Commission, all parties involved should use all the means at their disposal to support Member States in providing adequate healthcare for all European citizens

All CPME Policy documents are available at:

For more information, contact:


CPME Secretary General

Tel.: +32 2 732 72 02

Fax: +32 2 732 73 44


For more information about CPME, consult our website:

The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), representing about 2 million doctors through the National Medical Associations of the European Union / European Economic Area, aims to promote the highest standards of medical training and medical practice in order to achieve the highest quality of health care for all citizens of Europe.