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  (1)
  The "Europe against cancer" programme has given rise to many
  expectations among various European bodies, who have submitted
  research projects in the medical field and proposals for action
  and studies in the field of cancer prevention and health
  education. However, execution of the programme has run up against
  serious difficulties in 1987 and early 1988, namely the delays
  with which the Council has adopted certain regulations, and the
  inadequacy of available funds.
  These are the conclusions drawn by a progress report on the
  implementation of this programme as at 31 March 1988, adopted
  today by the Commission, which will be put before the Council,
  the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee.
  A European campaign against cancer was advocated in June 1985 by
  the European Council meeting in Milan. Already in July 1986, the
  Council, on the Commission's proposal, adopted a Resolution
  concerning a Community action programme against cancer, defining
  the framework within which Community actions in the field of
  prevention and health education should take place.
  It was only in November 1987 that the Council adopted a decision
  on a programme to coordinate medical and health research, for
  which a budget of 65 million ECU was set aside over a period of
  five years, with a tentative figure of 18 million ECU earmarked
  for coordinating medical research on cancer.
  Late in 1986, the Commission put before the Council a draft
  Council decision to complement the two preceding ones, concerning
  the campaign to increase awareness of the fight against cancer
  among the public and the health professionals in 1988, which was
  declared "European information on cancer Year" by the European
  Council meeting in London in December 1986. It is expected that
  the Council will adopt this text only in May 1988 with a budget
  allocation of around 10 million ECU for 1988 and 1989.
  
  (1) COM(88) 239
                                - 2 -
  The difficulties encountered so far may be ascribed to :
     -  insufficient funds having been allocated for the July 1986
        Resolution on cancer prevention - 650 000 ECU for 1986,
        1 000 000 for 1987, 1.4 million for 1988, 1.55 million for
        1989 and 1.7 million for 1990. The first three months of
        1988 have shown that this shortfall, already obvious in
        1987, is worsening, given that the requests for financing
        put forward so far already total 4 million ECU;
     -  late adoption on the part of the Council of the decision
        conerning medical research, resulting in delays in the
        execution of most actions in this field which had been
        scheduled for 1987;
     -  the lack of a Council decision on the third draft
        resolution, further complicated by the delay with which the
        European Community general budget for 1988 was adopted.
        This reflected negatively in particular on the launch of
        the European campaign to increase awareness of the fight
        against cancer among the public and the health
        professionals.  Thus, the Commission has co-financed only a
        few (less than 10% of total expenditure committed) of the
        many actions which will take place, at its request, during
        the European Week against Cancer, from 1 to 8 May 1988.
        Several actions had to be rescheduled for the second
        semester.
  Actions undertaken so far
  Despite such difficulties, a number of actions were undertaken.
  In the field of cancer prevention, the campaign against smoking
  qualified for top priority.  Three proposals, put forward in the
  run up to 1992 (completion of Internal Market) have been put
  before the Council by the Commission: one recommends the
  alignment of taxation of manufactured tobacco;  a second aims at
  harmonizing the labelling of tobacco products, and the third
  seeks to harmonize national legislation concerning the maximum
  tar content of cigarettes (15 mg by the end of 1992 and 12 mg by
  the end of 1995).
  Considerable progress has been achieved in the prevention of
  occupational cancers.  In August 1987 the Council approved a
  proposal for the classification of 29 carcinogenic substances,
  bringing to 56 the number of substances so classified since 1986.
  Furthermore, in the autumn of 1987 the Commission put before the
  Council a new proposal for a Directive on the protection of
  workers against 23 carcinogenic substances and 8 carcinogenic
  processes.  Finally, other actions and studies relevant to the
  ECSC industries have been successfully carried out.
  On the other hand, little was done in 1987 as regards improvement
  of foodstuffs, systematic screening and early detection.  In
  particular, inadequate budget resources resulted in lack of
  financing for a number of actions and studies.
                                - 3 -
  In the field of research, the bulk of the actions originally
  announced by the Commission in its action plan had to be
  postponed until 1988, due to the delay with which the Council
  adopted, at the end of 1987, the medical research coordination
  programme.  Of the fifty Community grants intended to promote the
  mobility of cancer researchers in 1987, only 15 could be
  allocated.  Further actions carried out 1987 include a pilot
  study on the role of nutritional factors in pre-cancerous lesions
  of the stomach, a seminar on "passive smoking and health", and a
  report evaluating the impact of the Tchernobyl accident on the
  frequency of observed chromosome aberrations.
  In the field of health education, top priority was given to the
  finalizing of the "European Code against Cancer" drawn up by the
  Committee of Cancer Experts on the basis of the most recent
  findings of expidemiological research.  It took close to a year
  and 200 hours of work by the experts to finalise the Code, which
  was officially presented to the 12 Heads of State and Government
  at the European Council held in Copenhagen in December 1987.
  At the same time the Commission was able to finance the
  production of three television health education programmes
  -"Lifestyles and cancer in Europe", "Mankind and Cancer" and
  "Euro-Jim versus Crab-cancer" - and six large size posters.
  Furthermore, 1987 and the first quarter of 1988 were a period of
  intensive preparation for the 1988-89 campaign to arouse the
  interest of the public and the health professionals.  A very
  large number of meetings were needed not only to inform the
  public and private bodies involved in the fight against cancer,
  but also - in many cases - to overcome their scepticism as to the
  usefulness of a European campaign.
  This objective has now been achieved, judging from the enthusiasm
  and commitment shown by the various bodies concerned with the
  fight against cancer in preparing the "European Week against
  Cancer" to be held in the Twelve Member States from 1 to 8 May
  1988. (See Annex)
   
   

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