Brussels, 23 June 2006
The European Commission today adopted a Communication and Action Plan with the aim of reducing the burden of accidents and injuries, which are the fourth major cause of death in the EU, killing some 235,000 EU citizens each year. Accidents and injuries account for almost 7 million hospital admissions and for 20% of sick leave, and they are the leading cause of death in children and young people. The Communication on Actions for a Safer Europe makes accident prevention a priority for the current and future Public Health Action Programmes (the EU’s funding mechanism to support projects in the Member States). It also calls on Member States to work with the EU and to prioritise accident prevention through information campaigns and data collection. “The fact that someone in Lithuania is five times more likely to die from an accident than someone in the Netherlands is a stark reminder that we need to do more to prevent unnecessary deaths from accidents across Europe”, said European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou. “This Communication aims to get the Commission and Member States to work together to reduce this needless cause of loss of life and distress in all EU countries.”
The aim of the Action Plan is to put accidents and injuries high on the political agenda and to reduce the burden of them on our societies. It suggests:
These actions would be supported through the Public Health Action Programme for 2003-2008 and its successors, and would require sustained collaborative efforts from the Member States.
The Plan aims to focus on the safety of children, adolescents and elderly citizens. It also focuses on vulnerable road users (e.g. cyclists, pedestrians, public transport users), complementing the Road Safety policy led by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport and Energy (DG TREN). It also targets the prevention of sports injuries, self-harm (including suicide) and interpersonal violence (domestic violence, violent attacks etc).
The Commission will propose a Council recommendation on accidents and injuries, following the adoption of the Communication today. The Recommendation seeks to highlight this issue, raise awareness and set out steps for further action. Furthermore, Commissioner Kyprianou will address on 25 June the First European Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion. The Conference will be held in Vienna and is being organised by the Austrian Presidency with the support of the European Commission.
First European Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/environment/IPP/documents/ev_20060625_en.pdf