On the 9th of June 2017, the EU’s Scientific Panel for Health is organising its second annual conference on: ‘Health research in a connected and participative society’. The European Public Health Association – EUPHA, EuroHealthNet and the European Public Health Alliance – EPHA, welcome this conference, and especially the priority it will give to participative and collaborative research. However, having read the programme, with its focus on health technology, digital innovation and health care, it risks missing an opportunity to promote research that could bring major benefits to the health of Europe’s citizens. Specifically, we are concerned that there is insufficient attention to public health research. Such research, seeking to develop population-level responses to the growing burden of diseases, and especially of multi-morbidity, can offer innovative means to prevent and protect health by tackling some of the major drivers of the overall burden of disease.
The continued need for public health research in Europe
EU Health Collaboration is crucial for Europe’s future
Dear President Juncker,
We, the undersigned organisations, representing EU health stakeholders, wish to express our grave concern about the future of health in European policies and programmes, in the light of your White Paper on the Future of Europe, and propose an urgent meeting with you and your services on this topic.
Our determined view, shared by the vast majority of EU citizens, is that health is absolutely and unequivocally a core business of the EU. Protection of a high level of human health and wellbeing is entrenched in the Treaties of the European Union.1 EU collaboration in the field of health is indispensable for the future of Europe and rebuilding the trust of citizens in the European Union. We need more health to unlock the full potential of economic and social policies.
70% of Europeans want the EU to do more for health, according to the most recent Eurobarometer survey. With such a strong, unequivocal demand from EU citizens for more action in the field of health, it is essential that this is not only maintained, but actually enhanced. The EU needs to continue deliver results that make a tangible difference in the daily lives of its citizens and thus re-establish people’s trust in its institutions.
Health protection and improvement is a great success story of the European Union
View the PDF to read the full letter
Call and commitment for action to take REJUVENATE forward 2017 – 2020
The EuroHealthNet statement on Promoting Health and Well Being towards 2030 and the REJUVENATE Framework for Health Promotion was developed in 2016 in consultation with EuroHealthNet members and partners, and in preparation for the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion.
The purpose of this call and commitment for action is to remind, encourage and strengthen the implementation of EuroHealthNet statement and Framework over the coming years.
The EuroHealthNet General Council, meeting in Helsinki on 1-2 June 2017, noting developments since its previous annual meeting in 2016:
A: at international and European levels, including:
- The Shanghai Declaration on promoting health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- The EC proposal for an EU Pillar of Social Rights;
- The EC White Paper on the Future of the EU;
- The WHO Europe Paris Conference on inter-sectoral actions for health and wellbeing;
- The EU Communication on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, and national voluntary reviews; The State of Health in the EU initiative
B: Key publications brought forward by EuroHealthNet, including:
- Statement on health inequalities co-signed by 30 members of the EU Health Policy Forum
- Position statements on the proposed EU Pillar of Social Rights;
- The EuroHealthNet Annual Report 2016-2017
- The INHERIT baseline evidence on moving, consuming and living in the EU;
- The CHRODIS ’12 steps’ recommendations on tackling chronic diseases;
C: Key points from its seminar on “Tackling health inequalities in a fast changing world” at the General Council meeting in Helsinki, 31 May 2017
- Health is a political choice; improving and sustaining it should be a high priority for the future of the EU. Joining forces across policies and sectors, sharing responsibilities, and mutually reinforcing efforts by collective investments and responsibilities are of utmost importance.
- Health inequalities vary substantially between and within countries. Gaps must be closed by fairer allocation of resources, priorities and by taking advantage of the most effective, integrated health, employment and social systems and policies.
- Innovation, the digital agenda and experiments must go hand in hand with equity and wellbeing objectives, and take account of developments in technology, employment and welfare investments.
1. CALLS ON policy makers, practitioners and researchers to also take forward, support, implement and improve the REJUVENATE framework and promote health in a rapidly changing world by:
- SUSTAINABLE POLICY MAKING
- BUILDING AND APPLYING NEW KNOWLEDGE
- TRANSFORMING HEALTH SYSTEMS
- IMPROVING WAYS IN WHICH WE WORK AND RESOURCES WE NEED
2. AND to join us in our commitment to take the ten REJUVENATE steps towards the 2030 agenda for health promotion and sustainable development by being:
- Responsive: adapt to challenges and use new opportunities;
- Equitable: address the causes of the causes;
- Joined Up: build partnerships and governance across sectors;
- Updated: be proactive and smart to influence 21st century realities;
- Value driven: develop values and rights for health in new contexts;
- Ethical: apply and promote the fairest standards in all we do;
- New: create and implement new ideas;
- Active: practice inclusive engagement;
- Technological: understand and apply technical and digital advances;
- Ecological: sustain and protect our environments
3. COMMITS to help to take forward, lead and support efforts towards sustainable health equity and wellbeing by:
- Stepping up our efforts to tackling the determinants of health and inequities.
- Applying a life-course approach, to leave no one behind, also acknowledging that disadvantages accumulate over life and a good start in life is key.
- Supporting healthy places, environments and communities;
- Involving new allies at all levels and develop partnerships.
- Strengthening health promoting systems, and ensuring that health systems are equitable.
- Strengthening public health and health promotion research, innovation and evaluation, also promoting the use of evidence, information and research for policy and practice.
EuroHealthNet will monitor and review progress through its Executive Board and evaluations at its annual General Council Meetings. -- Helsinki, June 2 2017.
European networks’ response to the Staff Working Document taking stock of the implementation of the 2013 Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’
European networks’ response to the Staff Working Document taking stock of the implementation of the 2013 Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’
Analysing the European Commission’s staff working document taking stock of the implementation of the Recommendation on ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’, many of the partner organisations of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children are pleased to see that the document recognises the crucial role played by civil society, and by the EU Alliance in particular as key stakeholders.
The document provides an honest overview of the current implementation status of the Recommendation at EU and Member States level. It reiterates the message that investing in children is not only an ethical imperative, but also cost-effective for society as a whole. We commend that the document reflects the holistic, three-pillar approach of the Recommendation and mentions the specific situation of particularly disadvantaged groups of children (single-parent and large families, Roma children, children with disabilities, children in alternative care, homeless children, children in migration). We also share the Commission’s belief that EU funding – also in the post 2020 financial framework – is crucial for the delivery of the Recommendation. However, we regret that the document does not include a roadmap for the implementation of the Recommendation. We believe that establishing a visible communicable plan with specific objectives and key milestones, would have been an extremely helpful tool.
The staff-working document recognises the essential role that the European Semester plays in monitoring national child and family policies, however we strongly believe further action is needed to ensure that children’s rights and family support are at the heart of the Semester cycle.
The package launched by the European Commission on 26 April urges Europe to rebalance its social and economic priorities. We welcome the reference to child poverty within the European Pillar of Social Rights, however, we are concerned that it is still unclear how it will contribute to the implementation of the Investing in Children Recommendation, especially as the latter is addressed to all EU Member States and not just to the Eurozone countries. Furthermore, we believe indicators in the new Social Scoreboard should be aligned to monitor progress on the implementation of the Recommendation.
While we would have expected the document to include a more forward-looking perspective, we assess the staff working document as a good starting point to develop further actions to be taken, both at national and EU level, and to foster the implementation of the Recommendation. Our European networks and our national members look forward to working with EU institutions and the national authorities to further this specific agenda.
Notes to the editors:
The EU Alliance for Investing in Children has been advocating for a multidimensional, rights-based approach to tackling child poverty and promoting child well-being since 2014.
This statement was endorsed by the following partner organisations of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children: Caritas Europa, COFACE Families Europe, Don Bosco International, European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), EASPD European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), Eurochild, Eurodiaconia, EuroHealthNet, European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), European Parents’ Association (EPA), Mental Health Europe, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International.
 The Recommendation on ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ was adopted by the European Commission in February 2013.
Joint statement about young people’s social inclusion on the occasion of the Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth (ACIG) 2017
This year, the Annual Convention focusses on young people’s social inclusion and on good practices to respond to their complex needs. Today, we highlight several important aspects for the development of European youth policy and practice:
- Develop integrated services for vulnerable young people: Young people are a diverse group, among them are young people in public care, young carers, unaccompanied migrant children, young people with mental health problems or disabilities, and early school leavers. They often find themselves in challenging life circumstances that require integrated support from different professionals, be that social workers, teachers, carers, mental health professionals, or job coaches.
- Respond to the needs of young carers across Europe: Young carers are children and young adults who provide care for a parent or relative in the community, usually within their own home. They can perform the most personal and intimate of tasks, often without any help or support from welfare agencies. Many young carers provide care at great personal expense - they are deprived of their childhood, few have established friendships or other support networks. Young carers are at greater risk of not completing their formal education and are less able to enter into higher education reducing their life chances and increasing their social exclusion.
- Address the causes of ill health and the barriers to well-being: Poor mental and physical health, and the unhealthy environments and behaviours which cause them, can block young people from the labour market. Subsequent financial and social exclusion leads to further ill health, leading to a viscous cycle and long-term negative impacts. To effectively address these challenges and build resilient labour markets, we need to tackle risks for ill health and barriers to well-being. Support should focus on the needs of the most vulnerable, as they are most affected.
This is a shared statement signed by three different European networks about young people’s social inclusion and complements the jointly prepared ACIG session on “Barriers and success factors to facilitate young people’s social and labour market participation”.
The EUROPEAN SOCIAL NETWORK is the network for local public social services
EUROHEALTHNET is a partnership of organisations, agencies and statutory bodies working to improve health, equity, and wellbeing.
EUROCARERS is the network representing informal carers and their organisations
The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive
As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, we have a momentous opportunity to take stock of how far Europe has come – and how far we still have to go in order to offer a sustainable and prosperous future to everyone in Europe. It is an opportunity that we call on you, the leaders of Europe, to seize with both hands. We call on you to show leadership, vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries.
In March 2017 EuroHealthNet joined this Common appeal to European leaders by European Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions
Call for actions for health and equity
Noting the high levels of health inequalities in many EU countries, 30 EU health organisations call on European Institutions and Member State governments to recognise the central role that health and health equity play in building strong and sustainable social market economies.
We also urge European Institutions and EU Member States to put health inequalities at the forefront of their health related priorities, as a topic in and of itself, and to place a stronger emphasis on health equity as an indicator, not only of how health systems are performing, but of how well Member States and the EU are delivering well-being for their people.
This Joint Statement was developed by EuroHealthNet in collaboration with a number of organisations that are part of the EU Health Policy Platform and which have endorsed the Statement. Its purpose is to send a strong message from health organisations across the EU of the urgent need for action on health equity, taken within and beyond health systems, to ensure the well-being of all EU citizens.
On the proposal by the European Commission to establish an European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR).
This Position is the overall view of EuroHealthNet, regarding the announcement in 2016 that the European Commission is considering establishment of a “European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR)”. The Position has been adopted by the EuroHealthNet Executive Board.
It is published for the attention of EU Institutions, other international organisations and a wide range of relevant stakeholders at international, national and sub national levels, to help inform them of the relevance and importance of health, equity and wellbeing in this potential development, and to raise awareness for all interested citizens and bodies on the opportunities and challenges this initiative presents.
In addition to this overall Position, EuroHealthNet will also submit and publish its specific evidence based Response related to health and social equity to the online EC Public Consultation in advance of the deadline in December 2016.
Furthermore, EuroHealthNet is engaged in dialogues as part of wider public consultation in Member States and at international levels, for example via the EU Public Health Policy Forum and Platform.
Subsequently, EuroHealthNet will contribute to public and EU Institutional debates on the anticipated “proposal” and “related initiatives” announced by the EC in its 2017 Work Programme.
3 Steps Towards Healthier Marketing
Europe faces a childhood obesity epidemic: up to a third of 11-year-olds is overweight or obese.1 Youth binge drinking is widespread and causes major harm, while nearly half the European youth used alcohol before the age of 13.2 Health problems starting in childhood often last a lifetime.
It is well-established that advertising causes changes in consumption patterns favouring the products advertised.3 Nevertheless, children and young people in Europe are still daily subjected to the aggressive marketing of alcohol and foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS).
The current revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) is the opportunity to free Europe’s children and youth from health-harmful marketing. Undersigned organisations call on Members of the European Parliament to grasp this opportunity and improve the Directive.
REJUVENATE!: EuroHealthNet’s Call on health promotion for a more social and sustainable society
A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all
Europe is at a crossroads, and the future of European cooperation and the benefits it brings are at stake. This is about the future of our society and how we want to be viewed by the wider world. The future of our planet and the kind of Europe our children will grow up in. The current crisis highlights the urgent need to reflect on fundamental questions: how do we ensure that the European project reclaims its promise of peace, democracy and solidarity? How can Europe work for its people?
Too many people across Europe are dissatisfied and disillusioned with the European Union and feel remote from its institutions and policies. But there are groups of committed politicians, trade unions, community groups and non-governmental organisations across Europe who are ready to take action and work for a renewed Europe. Together, we can shape a Europe that is inclusive, open, just, sustainable, and that works for people of all ages, social backgrounds and nations.
Where do we go from here to build the Europe we want and need?