Major and chronic diseases

Chronic Diseases Summit (3-4 April 2014)

Brussels, 3-4 April 2014

About the Conference

This first EU summit on chronic diseases discussed medical, social and economic benefits of sustainable investments in health, ways to reduce the burden of chronic diseases, and how to strengthen the prevention and management of chronic diseases, with a focus on EU added value and action.


The first EU summit on chronic diseases brought together key policymakers, stakeholders and interest groups to explore ways to address chronic diseases effectively in the EU and to develop recommendations along the following questions:

  1. How does the expanding burden of chronic diseases affect the quality of life of citizens, the competitiveness of economies and the cohesion of societies and what can the EU do about it?
  2. How can the pressure of the expanding burden of chronic diseases on health systems be reduced and how can available resources be invested in the most efficient way?
  3. Which prevention measures are the most cost-effective in the short and in the long term, and how could they be implemented? How should the EU and its Member States promote their implementation? Which risk factors need to be addresses more efficiently?
  4. How do the health and care systems need to change to respond to the ageing challenge and growing phenomena of frailty and multi-morbidity?
  5. How to best reach, include and empower the most vulnerable and marginalised people successfully in prevention and care strategies?
  6. How could the European Union support Member States’ attempts towards containing the chronic disease burden? Which EU action would provide most added value – in economic, social and political terms?

The summit will develop Conference conclusions and a set of policy recommendations for action clarifying on how the medical, social and economic burden of chronic diseases should be tackled in the European Union now and in the years to come.


The number of participants was around 450. The conference brought together representatives of Member States, non-governmental organisations and other relevant stakeholders, professional groups, business operators, academics, and EU institutions.

Video recordings

The Conference was broadcast online:

Centre Borschette (CCAB 0A 3.04.2014):
Centre Borschette (CCAB 1A: 3.04.2014):
Charlemagne (GASP 4.04.2014):

Watch the video recordings.


Workshop 1: Addressing major chronic diseases in Europe - added value through EU action

The inevitable epidemic? Major chronic diseases in the European Union
Gauden Galea
Director, NCD and Life-course, WHO Europe

The EU cancer policy - a show case for impact-oriented cooperation
Kathy Redmond
Policy Committee Member, European Cancer Organisation

Effective spending to reduce the burden of chronic diseases: the pressure on health and social systems
Sinisa Varga
Director, Croatian health insurance fund (HR), Association Internationale de la Mutualité, and European Social Insurance Platform

Shaping effective health policies for chronic diseases in the EU – being prepared for the future
Clive Needle
Director, EuroHealthNet

Recommendations for Conference Conclusions by the rapporteur
Owen Metcalfe
Chief Executive, Institute of Public Health (IE)

EU legislation and action on air quality and other environmental determinants impacting health
André Zuber
Air & Industrial emissions, DG Environment, European Commission

Workshop 2: Healthy ageing strategies for active older people – from disease to functions

Use of a short screening tool (Community Assessment of Risk and Treatment Strategies (CARTS)
William Molloy
Professor, Centre of Gerontology and Rehabilitation, University College Cork (IE)

Treatment of older people – the challenges in geriatric medication
Jean Pierre Michel
President of the European Union Geriatric Society, University of Geneva (CH)

Rehabilitation and long term care in the community – the carer’s perspective
Anne Hendry
National clinical lead for Integrated Care, NHS Scotland (UK)

Workshop 3: Effective frameworks for the prevention and management of major chronic diseases

Opening by the chair including a short statement on the EU reflection process on health care systems
Jan De Maeseneer
Head Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, Ghent University (BE)

A Joint Action to address chronic diseases: joining efforts at EU level
Juan E. Riese
S&T Advisor, Health Institute Carlos III Madrid (ES)

How do health systems respond to the challenge of diabetes
Marina Maggini
National Centre for Epidemiology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome (IT)

About equitable access to early diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care and the role of patient empowerment to manage diabetes
Anne-Marie Felton
President Federation of European Nurses in Diabetes (UK)

Innovative contributions to ensure state of the art prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases
John Camm
Professor of clinical cardiology, University of London, St. George´s Hospital (UK)

Multidisciplinary approaches for the prevention, treatment and control of respiratory diseases
Elisabeth Bel
Professor, President European Respiratory Society (NL)

Early Intervention – A cost-effective, evidence-based solution to reduce the burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases
Juan Jover
Fit for Work Europe and Head Rheumatology Service, Hospital Clìnico San Carlos Madrid (ES)

Targeting the chronic disease evolution and measuring quality and equity of care: lessons from the Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases community
Johannes W.J. Bijlsma
EULAR Treasurer and Professor of Rheumatology, University Medical Centre Utrecht (NL)

Changing skill mix within teams delivering integrated health services
Antoinette de Bont
Professor, Institute of Health Policy & Management, University of Rotterdam (NL)

Workshop 4: Investing in health – economic and social aspects of chronic disease prevention and management

Opening by the chair: Return on investment or return on health – finding the right balance
Andrzej Rys
Director, DG Health and Consumers, European Commission

Slim and effective disease management at affordable costs: problems and reality in the EU
Ellen Nolte
Director, Health and Healthcare Policy, RAND Europe (UK)

The health and social security systems interest in effective prevention
Günter Danner
Director, European Representation of the German Social Insurance (DE)

The economic value of immunisation: impact on chronic diseases
Magdalena R. de Azero
Chronic Diseases Summit

Research and development as a key driver for disease prevention and treatment: impact on chronic diseases
Serge Bernasconi
Chief Executive Officer MedTech Europe, the European Medical Technology Industry Association, and the European Diagnostic Manufacturers Association

Political incentives for more effective prevention including in health care settings
Pekka Puska
Ex- Director General, National Institute for Health and Welfare (FI)

Recommendations for Conference Conclusions by the rapporteur
Laura Batchelor
Director, FIPRA International

Workshop 5: Acting more efficiently on risk factors and determinants - Innovation in prevention and rebalancing prevention and treatment

Opening by chair: About the EU role in the prevention of chronic diseases: EU action on risk factors and health determinants and the chronic disease reflection process
Michael Hübel
Head of Unit, DG Health and Consumers, European Commission

Tobacco control in the EU: health promotion and legislation
Florence Berteletti Kemp
Director, Smoke Free Partnership

The use of law as an instrument in prevention
Belinda Reeve
Law Fellow, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown Law, Washington DC (US)

e-Technologies for Disease Prevention and Treatment: from a biological and digital revolution to health impacts
Marcus Zimmermann-Rittereiser
Siemens SVP Health Services International Strategy and COCIR eHealth Committee Deputy Chair

Behavioural economics and chronic diseases
Sandro Stoffel
Joint Research Centre, European Commission

The EUBIROD Network: A Shared Evidence-based Diabetes Information System for Europe
Prof. M. Massi-Benedetti
President, Hub for International Health Research-HIRS

The role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for prevention and treatment of chronic disease
Benno Brinkaus
EuroCAM, Professor Charité University Medical Centre Berlin (DE)

Recommendations for Conference Conclusions by the rapporteur
Daniela Galeone
Ministry of Health (IT)

Plenary sessions

Addressing the chronic diseases burden in Europe through focus on health outcomes
Joseph Jimenez
Chief Executive Officer, Novartis (CH)

Speech by Minister for Health Dr James Reilly
Minister of Health (IE)

The international processes to tackle non-communicable diseases
Gauden Galea
Director, Non Communicable Diseases and Life-course, WHO Europe

Stakeholder involvement as asset in response to chronic diseases
Norbert Lameire
Acting Chairman, European Chronic Diseases Alliance

Health systems and economic development in the EU
Hans Martens
Chairman of CHES – the Coalition for Health, Ethics and Society, and former Chief Executive of the European Policy Centre (EPC)

Reaching risk populations and most vulnerable groups - an imperative for the political and social dimension of health care
Fernando Leal da Costa
Secretary of State for Health, Ministry of Health (PT)

Cooperation needed? International and national strategies to control the burden of chronic diseases
Antonius Helou
Head of Division for Non-Communicable Diseases, Federal Ministry of Health (DE)

Citizen participation in reducing the burden of chronic diseases in the EU
Peggy Maguire
President, European Institute of Women´s Health and European Public Health Alliance

Presentation by Ricardo Baptista Leite
Member of Parliament (PT)

Workshop Recommendation by rapporteurs