EU Chronic Disease Summit: EuroHealthNet urges the EU and Member States to move from rhetoric to action on prevention of chronic diseases

EU Chronic Disease Summit: EuroHealthNet urges the EU and Member States to move from rhetoric to action on prevention of chronic diseases

Cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and mental disorders are responsible for 86% of all deaths in the region. They affect 8 out of 10 people aged over 65 in Europe, and 70% to 80% of healthcare budgets are spent on chronic diseases. Chronic diseases undermine the quality of life of millions of Europeans, and present the biggest challenge to the EU EIP-AHA target of increasing the healthy life years of its citizens by two years, by 2020.

The EC's Final Report on the Reflection Process on Chronic Diseases recognises that the way to meet the challenge posed by chronic diseases is to address the drivers of these diseases. At the same time they should reorient health systems to use available resources more efficiently and for better outcomes.

EuroHealthNet Managing Director Caroline Costongs states that "Despite widespread awareness of this, it's time to move from rhetoric to action. There is enormous potential to reduce levels of chronic diseases through greater investments in health promotion and disease prevention and through more effective action and innovation in this area."

The Chronic Disease Summit, organised by the European Commission in Brussels on 3rd -4th April 2014, will for the first time bring, together key policymakers, stakeholders and interest groups from across the EU to discuss action plans, to exchange on effective approaches and to formulate recommendations for action at EU level on how to address challenges. Health Ministers from six EU Member States will participate in the event. Clive Needle, EuroHealthNet's Policy and Advocacy Director will speak in a workshop on the first day of the Summit on 'Shaping Effective Health Policies for Chronic Diseases in the EU'.

The EU Joint Action on Chronic Diseases (CHRODIS-JA) has recently been launched. It is a way to harness the collective experience in EU Member States to identify the best approaches to reduce the burden of chronic diseases in the EU. This is a large collaboration between the EC and national health authorities from 26 Member States that is being funding by the EC and the participating parties. The three-year initiative (2014-2017) is being led by the Health Institute Carlos III in Spain and involves 60 organisations from across the EU. The CHRODIS-JA aims to draw on existing experience in the countries and regions of its partners to identify the best approaches to prevent and treat chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, stroke and type-2 Diabetes. Since many patients with chronic disease face multi-morbid conditions, it will also focus on how providing more holistic, rather than disease-specific care paths. The CHRODIS-JA will develop a sustainable EU-level knowledge platform consisting of a clearinghouse and a helpdesk to serve as a resource for those in EU Member States that seek authoritative advice on how best to prevent and treat chronic disease.

EuroHealthNet is co-leading work on good practices in health promotion and prevention of chronicity, and leads on Dissemination in this Joint Action.

  • For more information on the EU Summit on Chronic Diseases, please consult the Conference Programme here
  • A detailed agenda is available here
  • The Conference will be broadcast online for the following sessions
  • Addressing major chronic diseases in Europe - added value through EU action - Here
  • Healthy ageing strategies for active older people - from disease to functions - Here
  • General session - 4th April - Here
  • For more information on the EU Joint Action on Chronic Diseases , please contact: EuroHealthNet's Ingrid Stegeman(Health Promotion Europe Manager), Cristina Chiotan(Public Health Coordinator) or Anna Gallinat(Communications Assistant)
  • The CHRODIS -JA website ( will be available soon.

The EU Council Conclusions on innovative approaches for chronic disease(December 2010),invited EU countries and the European Commission to initiate and lead a reflection process on chronic diseases, in order to identify ways to optimize the response to chronic diseases and the cooperation between EU countries. The work undertaken was summarized in a Final Report on the Reflection Process on Chronic Diseases.(Sept 2013) The EU Joint Action on Chronic Diseases, which is being funded under the 2013 EU Health Programme as well as the EU Chronic Disease Summit can be regarded as a follow up to this process.

Another EU-level initiative that is highly relevant to collaborative action on chronic disease is the European Innovation Parthership (EIP) on Active and Healthy Ageing,one of the flagship initiatives of the EU 2020 Strategies. The Partnership set the target of increasing the healthy lifespan of EU citizens by 2 years by 2020. The EIP focuses on action developed around 3 pillars: prevention, screening and early diagnosis, care and cure (integrated care) and active ageing and independent living.