Video News Releases
Video News Releases (VNR) are video reports to be used by TV journalists and producers. These cover some of the activities and projects conducted by the European Union, especially by Directorate General for 'Health and Consumers'. You can preview our VNR's on-line, and if you need in DVD-quality for a broadcast, please click here.Consumers
On 1 May 2009, the dangerous chemical dimethylfumarate (DMF) will be banned in all consumer products sold in the EU.
Commissioner Kuneva explained to the UK consumer programme "Watchdog" why the ban is so important.
RAPEX, the European Rapid Alert System, is getting better and better at detecting dangerous toys. Meglena KUNEVA, Member of the EC in charge of Consumers, will present on 17/04/2008 the conclusions of the 2007 RAPEX Report. The Commissioner will outline the work undertaken on product safety - with the toy industry, international partners (China and the USA) and Member State surveillance authorities – and set out in more detail the outstanding initiatives foreseen in 2008.
The objective of this video clip is to outline the main achievements of EU consumer policy to date and to show its benefits and relevance to the daily lives of European citizens. The clip was displayed and uploaded on the web on the occasion of European Consumer Day (15 March 2008) but it will also be used by European Consumers Centres as a promotional and information tool.
As Christmas draws near, millions of European consumers will soon be rushing to shopping centres or connecting to the internet to do their shopping. Some may be confronted with unfair commercial practices: misleading advertising, direct exhortations to children in advertisements, aggressive practices, and so on. Having observed an increase in such practices, the European Union adopted a directive on unfair commercial practices in 2005 which must be applied in all EU Member States from 12 December 2007.
EU’s Rapid Alert System (RAPEX) instrumental in ensuring increasing number of unsafe products are removed from the market. Within an increasingly consumer-driven society, where the single market allows free movement of goods, RAPEX helps to stop dangerous products, from reaching the buying public in 30 European countries. Through the system, national authorities notify the Commission of products which present a serious risk, such as electric shocks, choking and burns, to consumers. RAPEX immediately launches a process to inform and warn authorities in other countries where the product is sold so that they can take immediate appropriate action.
With so many new products and brands and increasingly sophisticated financial services, European consumers are having a hard time getting their bearings. They are not comfortable with the idea of buying something in another country of the European Union: only one out of five people have done so over the past twelve months. And yet, the EU single market offers many possibilities for competition and for buying at a lower price.
Do we really know what we eat? Probably not, judging from supermarket shelves in most of the European Union Member States. While consumers can easily identify the name and brand of different food products they have to look a lot more closely to find nutritional information, such as the amount of sugar or fat in prepared foods or a chocolate bar.
With the winter in sight, there is renewed concern over flu. On the one hand, the new migratory season brings a renewed risk of wild birds bringing with them highly infectious viruses such as H5N1. When wild birds carrying the virus come into contact with domestic poultry, avian influenza can have devastating effects on poultry farms, and all the economy linked to this activity.
Following this evaluation, DG SANCO has put together a video feature showcasing concrete examples of animal disease outbreaks and the solutions put in place to control the spread of the diseases.
Three years ago a Belgian chicken farm located in an area affected by bird flu was forced to slaughter all its animals and destroy its poultry house. The owners have now started again after putting in place strict bio-safety measures: changes of clothing and shoes, disinfection of shoes, isolation zones, double doors, etc… These measures help to prevent outbreaks of disease and associated side effects, such as financial losses. The financial impact of disease affects not only the farmers but also the local economic and social environments, as well as the consumers.
Since July 2006, Commission officials have been mainly concerned with blue tongue disease. Cases were detected in Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands. In France, within the space of only a few months, blue tongue disease caused huge problems in the areas affected by the virus, as no single animal can be moved within a radius of 20 km around the affected farm and significant transport restrictions are applied within a second radius of 150 km. Specific treatments are given to the sick cattle to stop the virus propagating and confinement measures are applied.
To avoid crises, lots of people are in favour of vaccination but it is not applicable everywhere. After a vaccination campaign lasting more than 15 years, a majority of EU Member States is rabies free. But in the advent of foot and mouth disease, vaccination would prevent meat exports to third countries.
Exercise Aeolus was a European Commission initiative designed to provide with an opportunity to examine the capability of departments and institutions at a Member State and Commission level to work together and share information during a fast-evolving health threat which cuts across departmental responsibilities.
The short film clip describes the patient safety challenges that all EU health systems face today. These includes one of the most common causes of harm - healthcare associated infections. It also explains that measures can be taken to improve patient safety and sets out a role for the EU in supporting Member States in this process.
The video highlights examples of successful mental health initiatives such as the European Alliance Against Depression and initiatives promoting corporate social responsibility in the workplace. The video also reports on the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being, launched by Commissioner for Health, Ms Androulla Vassiliou in June 2008 at an EU high-level conference.
The European Commission has adopted an important new proposal for a Directive on patient's rights in cross border healthcare. The initiative, part of a package of measures under the Renewed Social agenda, seeks to clarify how patients can exercise their rights to healthcare cross-border - that is, in other Member States - and aims to ensure high quality care when they do so. It also sets out responsibilities for Member States and healthcare providers, and promotes co-operation between health systems to provide better access to specialised care.
Watch the video to find out more.
VNR on the tobacco ban in pubs and restaurants in Ireland, Italy and Belgium, smoke free working environment in the EC, quit smoking programs on the workfloor in Belgium, Green Paper "Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke", pictural warnings on cigarette packs, HELP campaign.
The European Commission and the EU Member States have established rules and measures to enforce whenever an outbreak of the disease occurs. The key word of the European strategy to protect against animal viruses, including avian flu, is prevention
The TV report "Access to cross-border health care in the EU" shows how the issue of patient mobility is crucial in specific cases such as the urgent need for a treatment of rare diseases. A French patient is forced to receive treatment for Gorham disease in Spain, where there is a specialist of this rare disease and he can have a treatment in a shorter timeframe than in his home country. It also shows recent European Court judgements on the cross-border movement of patients:
- The case of a British national who had to wait for one year to have an operation in the UK to heal the arthritis she suffered in both legs. Despite the refusal of the British health authorities, she travelled to France where her operation could be provided sooner. As the reimbursement of her medical expenses was refused, she took her case to the Court of Justice of the European Communities, which decided in favour of free circulation, reflecting the principle of patient mobility.
- The second case features a Luxembourg national, who needed a new pair of eyeglasses. With his practitioner’s prescription from Luxembourg, he went to Arlon in Belgium to purchase the glasses. After refusal of the reimbursement and long legal proceedings, the European Court of Justice decided in his favour and his medical insurance company had to reimburse him.
The TV report "Europe acts against obesity" shows several initiatives supported by the Platform aiming at reversing overweight trends among the younger generations:
- The Food Dude is an EU-funded healthy eating programme launched by the Irish Food Board that teaches children at school how to eat in a healthy way, but also shows parents how to establish healthy eating habits also at home. More than 250 schools in Ireland currently follow the programme.
- In Cologne, Germany, the Fit Am Ball initiative aims to show children how to combine sport, in particular soccer, and healthy food. Run initially in 25 schools in 2003, the Fit Am Ball activities have been extended to over 1000 German schools.
The TV report "Improving organ donation and transplantation in Europe" shows how Spain, which had one of Europe's lowest organ donor rates, over 15 years has moved to the head of the list with 35 donors per million inhabitants. It then shows why 6 countries have decided to come together under the Eurotransplant foundation in order to share their national resources.
The TV report "EU steps up prevention of alcohol-related harm" shows how alcohol consumption is a growing health, social and economic problem in Europe. The problem is acute among teenagers, as shown by the following drinking patterns, shown in the video :
The TV report also analyses the health dangers of alcoholism during pregnancy and its consequences, such as the foetal alcohol syndrome. Children suffering from foetal alcohol syndrome present a mental handicap at birth that leads to a number of behavioural problems: learning difficulties, sleeping disorders or extreme impulsiveness…
- "Binge-drinking" in the United Kingdom means drinking high amounts of alcohol in a single session. The terminology might be new but the phenomenon has long been practised in the UK, and increasingly for 15 years.
- "El botellón" (the big bottle), in Spain, consists of heavy consumption of alcohol (a mixture of soda, wine and alcohol) in public places by a large group of youngsters. In Spain, 37% of the road accidents are caused by alcohol.