Bad Hofgastein (A), 7 October 2004
David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, addressed the member regions of AER Committee “Social Affairs and Public Health” at its meeting in Bad Hofgastein (A) on 7th October 2004 and congratulated them on their political activities in promoting good health.
Roel Augusteijn (Noord-Brabant, NL), the Committee Vice President in charge of health affairs, presented Mr Burn with a copy of the AER political resolution on a new European Health Strategy, which supports, amongst other things:
– the mainstreaming of health into other European policy areas, as it is often the case that Union actions in other sectors have a significant impact on health;
– prevention as a central focus of European, national and regional health policy, with a particular focus on youth care;
– the inclusion of health as a main objective under the Union financial instruments, in particular the Structural Funds.
“Interregional partnerships are an effective tool for developing health policy and addressing the health gap in Europe. The new European health strategy should especially encourage cooperation in the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse, in the development of youth care and in responding to problems arising from an ageing society” said Roel Augusteijn.
The member regions also adopted a political statement on social and health services of general interest, emphasising the particular features of these sectors that do not allow a rigid application of market principles. The regions are especially concerned with the reference contained in the White Paper to “consumers” of health and social services. This is an economic concept that does not recognise the fundamental right of citizens to have access to these services.
The AER Committee on “Social Affairs and Public Health” acknowledges the need to review health and social services, but urges the European Commission to strike a balance between the internal market and the general interest.
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