EPHA - Searching for Europe’s ’added value’ for health
The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) has closely followed the negotiations on the EU-US ’TTIP’ trade deal, which is giving the health community cause for concern. Yet EPHA points out one positive aspect which is that these negotiations are getting a lot of attention from Members of the European Parliament.
Currently 14 Parliament committees are preparing their Opinions to send to the International Trade committee for a vote in May expressing the Parliament’s priorities for the agreement. A top priority must be to ensure that TTIP is a good one for ensuring a high level of public health and retaining the right to regulate - in perpetuity - to protect and improve health. As the TTIP is a ’living agreement’, the health community will have to stay vigilant even after the initial deal is struck: further dealings will continue in the longer term, on tricky topics with huge health impacts like pharmaceuticals and agriculture, when today’s spotlight has faded.
The First Vice-President of the EU Commission Frans Timmermans is currently preparing a ’Better Regulation’ package for late April with a focus on cutting red tape. Health advocates, consumer groups, trade unions and green groups fear that translates only to ’less regulation in the public interest’ or even de-regulation to reduce “annoyances” for businesses by reducing protection for everyone.
The list of areas where Europe is not working hard enough to protect health is growing, for example on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and health inequalities made worse by the economic crisis. EPHA highlights the need for the EU to act further to improve citizen’s health.
Originally posted on 9 April 2015