Non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes, represent major causes of disability, ill-health, health-related retirement, and premature death in the EU, resulting in considerable social and economic costs. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), every year in the EU, approximately 550,000 people of working age die prematurely from non-communicable diseases. As the leading cause of mortality in the EU, they account for most healthcare expenses, costing EU economies €115 billion, or 0.8% of GDP annually.
EU integrated approach
The EU approach to the challenge of non-communicable diseases involves an integrated response focusing on prevention across sectors and policy fields, combined with efforts to strengthen health systems.
The European Commission is committed to supporting EU countries in their efforts to reach the nine voluntary targets of the United Nations and the World Health Organisation (WHO) by 2025, as well as Sustainable Development Goal 3.4, which aims to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third, and promote mental health and well-being by 2030.
To support countries in reaching the international targets, the Commission has set up a Steering Group on Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Management of Non-Communicable Diseases (the Steering Group on Promotion and Prevention, or SGPP).
Previously, the Commission carried out a reflection process in order to identify ways to optimize the response to non-communicable diseases and the cooperation between EU countries. The reflection process led to a final report.
EUROSTAT provides statistical data on non-communicable diseases in the EU.
Sources of funding in the area of non-communicable diseases.