Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to be here today together with you to announce the launch of the new Knowledge Centre on Cancer.

Cancer is the number one cause of death among Europeans under 65. Each year, close to 3 million people in the European Union are diagnosed with cancer and over 1,3 million lose their lives due to it.

We are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in cancer research and weakened collaboration networks. We need now to re-build these networks and boost our research efforts.

We have supported cancer research and innovation for many decades but today we stand at a new frontier. We have the opportunity to embark on the biggest ever actions on cancer through the European Mission on Cancer and the European Beating Cancer Plan.

The objective of our dedicated Mission on Cancer is to have, by 2023, a significant number of lives saved, with patients living longer and better.

Two important milestones for the implementation of the missions have been achieved: the adoption of Horizon Europe in April and the adoption of our work programmes 2021-2027 two weeks ago. The cancer mission will now count with €5 million euros to enable its rapid launch.

Together with my team and all the services concerned in the European Commission, we are finalising the mission implementation plan, which we will share with you after the summer.

The success of the missions will require the engagement and commitment of all actors, including our citizens, regions, Member States, researchers and innovators, patient organisations, schools and industry. This should continue to be our first ambition, to have  everyone on board.

I would also like to stress the need to address key areas such paediatric cancer, education, training and prevention.

Last year, 15.000 children and adolescents were diagnosed with cancer, with over 2.000 young patients losing their lives.

This is why we have made paediatric cancer one of the priorities of Horizon Europe. This will be tackled by the cluster health, which has a total budget of €8,2 bn euros.

Let us also not forget how important education is in this fight. We need to better involve our schools, universities and teachers.

First, with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions we are developing skills and doctoral programmes in the areas of cancer. It has already invested over €400 million in more than 500 projects.

Secondly, funded under ERASMUS+, 11 out of the 41 European University Alliances, with a total of €55 million euros, will support education, research and innovation actions contributing to tackling cancer.

Finally, our HealthyLifestyle4All initiative will promote sport and healthy diets, including in schools. I would like to invite you all to the launch of this initiative during the European Week of Sport on 23 September.

All of these initiatives will support the implementation of the European Beating cancer Plan. We now need to explore how to obtain the best results from these initiatives and connect them.

This is where the new Knowledge Centre on Cancer comes in.

The new Knowledge Centre will provide the latest evidence on cancer prevention, screening and diagnosis to inform our policies and actions, including the work on the cancer mission. To have a real impact, we need the research knowledge to reach the policies that will support people.

The Centre will also monitor cancer trends and let us see how effective preventive strategies and screening programmes are. This will help us to identify research and development as well as policy gaps.

I am pleased to announce that the Knowledge Centre is already providing its very first deliverable today: the new European Guidelines for Quality Assurance for Breast Cancer. The guidelines will help Member States and health organisations to comply with the recommended standards and procedures for screening, diagnosis and care. I encourage all Member States to use these guidelines.

To conclude, I would like to congratulate the researchers in the Joint Research Centre, the entire team, for developing these crucial instruments for our fight against cancer.

Ladies and gentlemen, never before has Europe been so united in tackling cancer. With the launch of the Centre, our programmes, our mission, we stay confident that we have the right tools at hand to succeed.

Now we count on your engagement, and on your ideas, to make the best of these tools so we can move from concept to implementation and have a major positive impact on patients’ lives.

Thank you very much.