Brussels, 9 November 2011
The Health for Growth Programme aims to support and complement the work of Member States to achieve the following four objectives:
Developing innovative and sustainable health systems;
Increasing access to better and safer healthcare for citizens;
Promoting health and preventing disease; and
Protecting citizens from cross-border health threats.
The Consumer Programme will support EU consumer policy in the years to come. Its objective is to place consumers at the centre of the Single Market and empower them to participate actively in the market and make it work for them, particularly by:
- Enhancing product safety through effective market surveillance;
- Improving consumers' information, education and awareness of their rights;
- Consolidating consumer rights and strengthening effective redress, especially through alternative dispute resolution;
- Strengthening enforcement of rights cross-border.
In announcing the new Health and Consumer programmes, Commissioner Dalli said, "These two programmes are about people; about fostering the conditions for people to live to their full potential and play a key role in society and in the economy. Keeping people healthy and active for longer is good for people and is good for jobs and growth. Confident, empowered consumers create thriving markets. I am confident the two programmes will make a significant contribution to achieving Europe 2020goals – to create smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by the end of this decade".
What the programmes aim to achieve
This programme aims to build on the previous Health Programmes to support and deliver action aimed at encouraging the uptake of innovation in health, fostering better and safer healthcare, promoting good health and preventing diseases, and protecting citizens from cross-border health threats.
Examples on which further action will be built:
- Co-operation on Health technology assessment (HTA), an EU-wide voluntary network of Member States' HTA agencies to share information on the effectiveness of health technologies such as medicines, medical devices, and preventive measures, to support national decision-making on technology;
- Co-operation on rare diseases at European level to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment for patients with rare diseases across the EU, including the EU portal for rare disease (www.orpha.net), the world reference database on rare diseases;
- Cancer prevention and control, through EU-wide screening guidelines to improve early detection so that the disease can be diagnosed at an early stage and lives can be saved; and through exchange of knowledge and best practice on cancer prevention, research and care.
This programme aims to build on the previous programme by focussing action on empowerment of the consumer through safety, information and education, rights and redress and enforcement actions. Actions will focus on:
- Monitoring and enforcing safety through EU-wide systems such as RAPEX, the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products
- Information and education initiatives to make consumers, particularly young consumers, aware of their rights. This includes also the continuing development of the evidence base for better policy making at both EU and national level on consumer issues, with, for example, the Consumer Markets Scoreboard which maps out the markets that fail consumers in Europe;
- Delivering legislation aimed at enhancing consumer rights, for example the Consumer Credit Directive which ensures that consumers across Europe enjoy a common set of core rights, including the right to receive clear and comparable information before committing themselves financially; and Redress, where good preparatory work has been done, particularly, on Alternative Dispute Resolution.
- Enforcement action through "Sweeps" operations, which are co-ordinated by the European Commission and carried out simultaneously by national consumer enforcement authorities to see where consumer rights are being compromised or denied;
These new EU programmes build on the ongoing Health and Consumer Programmes, which provide valuable opportunities for Member States to invest in health and consumer protection. The current programmes run until the end of 2013.
The new Health and Consumer Programmes are part of the EU's financial priorities for 2014-2020 (the EU Multiannual Financial Framework), which was announced by the European Commission in June.
Procedure / What's next?
These proposals will now be discussed by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers, with a view to adoption by the end of 2013, to allow for the start of the new health and consumer programmes in 2014.
Negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework for the whole EU budget will continue in parallel.
For information on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020
For information on the 2008-2013 Health Programme "Together for Health"
For information on the 2008-2013 Consumer Programme
Commissioner John Dalli's website