Joint letter to MEPs asking to protect the strength of BECA’s cross party consensus on cancer prevention
EuroHealthNet has signed a letter to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) about a report from the European Parliament Special Committee on Beating Cancer (the BECA report). Upon suggestions from the alcohol industry, it is our understanding that several MEPs are working on plenary amendments that may delude the strength of the report, including when it comes to the response to alcohol consumption. Amendments target in particular the mention of ‘no safe level’ of alcohol consumption, and to remove other measures such as the call for a ban on alcohol advertisement during sports events. Meanwhile, MEPs from the political party S&D are working on amendments to include stronger language on tobacco, in particular around e-cigarettes. On 14 February, the EP will vote on whether to adopt the report.
The initiative for the letter came from the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA). The letter serves to
- express support from the health community to the BECA report;
- and to call on MEPs to adopt the report with no tweaking of its recommendations on cancer prevention.
You may find the full letter below, and here in PDF.
Subject: Please protect the strength of BECA’s cross-party consensus on cancer prevention during the plenary vote on the BECA report
Dear Members of the European Parliament,
Today, on the occasion of World Cancer Day, the undersigned organisations would like to:
- express again their continued support to the report developed by the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA); and
- call on you to adopt the report during the plenary vote of February with no weakening of its recommendations on cancer prevention. It is of long-term importance that the report maintain its level of ambition and strong language, in particular when it comes to the main, well-known and preventable risk factors of cancer and other major chronic diseases.
Every year in Europe, millions of deaths and lost years of “healthy” life are attributable to alcohol consumption, tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and air pollution, responsible for cancer and other major chronic diseases. There is no safe level of alcohol consumption1, exposure to tobacco2, nor to poor air quality3. It is our shared duty to put in place all measures to ensure that our current and future generations are protected from the dramatic impact of these modifiable risk factors, which present a considerable health and economic challenge; and underlie health inequalities.
One of the key learnings of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it is high time to efficiently promote and protect public health; and put Europeans’ health and wellbeing first and above commercial interests.
Health is a fundamental right embedded in the EU treaties, specifically in article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and a collective responsibility within the European Union. It is the backbone of strong and sustainable economies and societies.
During the next plenary session, we therefore count on you to adopt the BECA’s report on “Strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer” without compromising its content. The promise of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to reduce suffering caused by cancer and other chronic diseases – including cancer co-morbidities and complications – must not be compromised.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
- Tunde Koltai, Board Director, Association of European Coeliac Societies (AECS)
- Dr. Wendy Yared, Director, Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL)
- Florence Berteletti, Secretary General, European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare)
- Prof. Em. Raymond Vanholder, Acting Chairman, European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA)
- Peggy Maguire, Director General, European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH)
- Dr Milka Sokolović, Director General, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
- Dineke Zeegers Paget, Executive Director, European Public Health Association (EUPHA)
- Caroline Costongs, Director, EuroHealthNet
- Anca Toma, Director, Smoke Free Partnership
- Floriana Cimmarusti, Secretary General, Safe Food Advocacy Europe (SAFE)
- Pricivel Carrera, Scientific Coordinator, Digital Cancer Prevention
- Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive, Oral Health Foundation
1 Burton R., Sheron N. No level of alcohol consumption improves health. The Lancet. Volume 392, issue 10152, P987-988; 2018.
2 World Health Organisation. Factsheet. Tobacco. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tobacco
3 WHO global air quality guidelines. Particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. 2021.