02 September 2015
- Air Quality, - Food Safety, - Healthcare, - Digital Health

It is been one year the Comission and Parliament started their mandates and until the end of 2015 this time will be translated into new policy developments important for patients. We will follow closely the outcome of the plenary vote on air quality legistlation, the new upcoming tools on food labelling and roll out of the programme from the Luxemburgish presidency of the Council.

Patients and innovation: the Luxembourg Presidency

The presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates among the EU Member States every 6 months. During this 6-month period, the Presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU's work in the Council.

Member States holding the Presidency work together closely in groups of three, called 'trios'. This system was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. The trio sets long-term goals and prepares a common agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over an 18-month period. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed 6-month programme. The current trio is made up of the Presidencies of Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg.

Since the 1st July, Luxembourg holds the preisdency of the Council of the European Union, a position that has been shared with Italy and Latvia, to set up long-term policy goals. In terms of health, Luxembourg has promised to have patients and innovation at the core of discussions aiming to implement a strong regulatory framework providing citizens with quick access to safe and high-quality products. The Luxembourg Presidency will also initiate a process of reflection on improved access to personalised medicine for a greater number of citizens and on better dementia care.

For more information, please visit the Luxembourgish presidency website.

Will we breathe cleaner air? NEC negotiations

Last July, the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted on the new EU National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NEC), a key law to set emissions limits for the biggest air pollutants in Europe and the only instrument tackling cross-border air pollution.

The ENVI text proposes stricter pollution targets that the ones proposed by the Commission, with 2025 targets becoming binding and adding mercury as a pollutant to be covered by the directive. These steps are in line with our views for patients health, and need to be adopted now in plenary. The vote on the NEC proposal will take place in October and will be a big milestone for air quality in Europe.

Renewed food labelling guidelines

The Commission is updating the guidances on allergen labelling based on the results of the consultation they launched about the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. This will be an importnat piece to enhance food allergy patients safety when buying food products. You can check our response to the consultation.

Creating the path for Mobile health (mhealth)

After the Green Paper on mobile health, the European Commission has announced some follow-up actions on m-health that are or particular interest for patients. The first one includes the development of a Code of conduct on privacy and security for mobile health applications, which will serve users to get some ideas on the precautions manufacters and developpers will take into account when building applications to collect health data. The second one will gather m-health stakeholders to discuss about the quality and reliability of mhealth and well-being apps. Additionally, the Commission has planned to follow-up on digital health literacy, big data, digital security, evidence gathering and best practices exchange, under Horizon 2020. At EFA we will be closely following and informing these developments to ensure the interest of chronic disease patients are reflected into the development of new m-health policies and materials.

A European strategy on chronic diseases

During the launch of the European Parliament Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma in March 2015, the European Commission revealed its plan to present a European framework on chronic diseases by the end of 2015. After all our campaigning work since 2013 to have such a strategyc with disease-specific chapters, we are thrilled to see the full document that is currently under construction. 

Dear Visitor,

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Stay safe!
The EFA Team