The Health for Growth Programme aims to support and complement the work of Member States to achieve the following four objectives of 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 and strengthening enforcement of rights cross-border.
In announcing the new Health and Consumer programmes, Commissioner John 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 2020 goals – to create smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by the end of this decade".
These programmes are especially useful in Malta where a National Statistics Office lifestyle survey in 2007 revealed that 41% of Maltese are overweight and a further 21% are obese. The same survey also reveals that 26.2% smoke and 3.2% make use of illicit drugs. Fresh fruit and vegetables are eaten daily by only 48.4% and 39.2% respectively. However just over half of the Maltese population consider their standard or living as being good or very good.