Brussels, 2 December 2010
EU Health Strategy undermined by failure to draw on wealth of experience at sub-national level, warns CoR
Europe's regions have a wealth of experience in developing and implementing health strategies that remains untapped at the European level, the Committee of the Regions warned on Wednesday. The failure to fully involve sub-national authorities as legitimate partners in the development of future initiatives will undermine the European Commission's efforts to improve the quality of healthcare and health services across the EU.
Speaking after the adoption of his opinion on the role of local and regional authorities in the implementation of the EU Health Strategy at the CoR Plenary Session in Brussels, rapporteur Adam Banaszak (PL/EA), said: "Local and regional authorities are still insufficiently involved in the implementation of the European health strategy despite the key role that they play in, for example, providing health care services or developing prevention campaigns. The European Commission could do much more to involve local and regional actors while dealing with health issues, such as inviting them to take part in working groups, and should build on their experience in areas such as assessing health inequalities between regions. But above all it needs to make sure that there is sufficient financial support for LRAs in the field of healthcare, not least by making it easier for them to access existing European funds for health-related programmes, in particular those involving cross-border cooperation. For the CoR it is also important for health objectives to be included in the Europe 2020 strategy with a view to achieving intelligent and balance development that can help combat social exclusion."
One of the clear messages for EU Health Commissioner John Dalli, who was invited by CoR President Mercedes Bresso to present the European Commission's position in the Plenary Session, is the need for more effective indicators to assess the level of health inequalities across Europe. "The Lisbon Treaty makes territorial cohesion one of the key pillars of the EU, yet in the field of healthcare there are still substantial differences across regions, even within countries. European-funded projects have, for example, established a set of regional indicators that give a far more accurate picture of health inequalities than the methodology currently in use. The Commission should support such projects and ensure that their follow-up helps regions to tackle inequalities in healthcare and meet other future challenges," said Banaszak.
The Committee of the Regions is committed to working closely with the European Commission on key issues such as disease prevention and health promotion, through the recently established technical platform, which brings together officials from local and regional administrations, experts and stakeholders, EU officials as well as interested CoR members to discuss a wide range of health-related issues with policymakers.
Notes to editors
Read more from rapporteur Adam Banaszak on the key messages in his opinion and the need for greater cooperation
An example of one EU-funded project carried out at the regional level looking at indicators for assessing health inequalities
Visit the CoR's website: www.cor.europa.eu
The Committee of the Regions
The Committee of the Regions is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. The mission of its 344 members from all 27 EU Member States is to involve regional and local authorities and the communities they represent in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council are obliged to consult the Committee in policy areas affecting regions and cities. It can appeal to the EU Court of Justice if its rights are infringed or it believes that an EU law violates the subsidiarity principle or fails to respect regional or local powers.
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