The Netherlands has recently signed the declaration 'Towards access to at least 1 million sequenced genomes in the EU by 2022', thus becoming the 18th EU Member State to participate in the joint European effort to deliver cross-border access to genomic health data.

Genomics declaration: They did it!

The Dutch signature shows the growing awareness of the importance of such EU cooperation on health. More Member States joining increases the expected results and impact of such an initiative.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society welcomed this new step forward:

Welcome to the Netherlands to this European initiative. Cooperation on health and particularly on linking genomic health data throughout the European Union is of the utmost importance for improving personalised health and better treatment for every EU citizen.

The Declaration on linking genomic health data across borders is a mechanism of cooperation between the EU signatory countries, which are committed to collaborate on the secure and authorised access to national and regional banks of genetic and other health data. Having a larger cohort of genomic data, will allow for more clinically impactful research. This will contribute to better health and care delivery to European citizens and ensure Europe's leading place in health research. It will also contribute to better prevention of diseases and more accurate personalised treatments, in particular for cancer and brain related diseases, as well as for rare diseases.

The signatory Member States cooperate closely in order to overcome data silos, lack of interoperability and fragmentation of smaller national initiatives. Investments in sequencing, bio banking and data infrastructure will be maximized. The right to data privacy will be secured, while giving citizens an active role in their personalised treatment and putting their needs at the centre of healthcare innovation.

Background

The initiative was originally launched on 10 April 2018 during the Digital Day 2 and since then it was signed by Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Some research projects on eHealth supported by the EU:

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