Internationales (02.10.04)

Source: Eurocare

A major international conference was organised in the Hague, Netherlands on 7-9 September 2004. Entitled Shaping the EU Health Community: Balancing Health, Social Development and Internal Market, it was organised by the Netherlands Institute for Care and Welfare (NIZW), an EPHA member.

Andrew McNeill, Director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, Tamsin Rose, General Secretary of EPHA and Fiona Godfrey, ERS Policy Advisor, were speakers at a three-hour parallel workshop on Public health and the internal market. Please find here some presentations:      Links are cancelled!

Lectures: Complete List

Fiona Godfrey: The internal Market and Health. Selected case studies.  (ppt. 1123 KB)

Tamsin Rose: Health and the Internal Market  (ppt. 202 KB)

Observations from the Workshop on Public Health: At EU level there is a tension between health outcomes and economic and financial concerns that has become increasingly strained. The European Court of Justice has been frequently called upon to adjudicate on this relationship, with mixed outcomes. Furthermore, as pointed out by Mr McNeill, the ECJ only rules on a particular policy whilst organisations working for the prevention of alcohol related harm emphasize the need for a mix of policies to address the harm done by alcohol, stating that it is counterproductive to formulate health policy responses exclusively for the individual or one one particular policy, while neglecting the wider public perspectives of health and social welfare.

The workshop also underlined the fact that there is evidence  for the inter-relationship between certain goods such as alcohol, tobacco, food, consumer items and health outcomes. As the EU internal market regulates these goods and associated services such as advertising or sales promotion, there is some potential for influencing health outcome through effective market legislation.

Some of the questions and conclusions of  the workshop were as follows:

  • Where are the Health Impact Assessments (HIA) on EU policies? This is a treaty obligation (Article 152) so why do co-legislators (Council, Parliament) not demand a thorough examination of the impact on health of EU policies?
  • The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one policy that would clearly fail a rigorous HIA.
  • Individual health is a right but also a duty to the community.  This approach allows room for individual choice and responsibility but also provides a focus for all stakeholders (health professionals, authorities, NGOs and industry) to concentrate their efforts on an 'enabling' environment.
Strength: Evidence of the negative impact of goods (tobacco, alcohol, food, consumer products) on health
Weakness: No Health Impact Assessments on EU policies
Opportunity: Goods and services are regulated at EU level
Threat: Significant divergence between health goals and economic approach

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