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Citizens' Dialogue with Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis


Summary

I would like to show you that we must avoid the distance between politicians and citizens. We are together – being together makes it possible to change the European continent.

Commissioner Andriukaitis-

On 10 September, Commissioner Andriukaitis participated in a Citizens' Dialogue in Bucharest. His stage partner was Raed Arafat, Romanian Secretary of State and Head of the Department of Emergency Situations at the Ministry of Home Affairs. The discussion covered a broad range of issues, notably the challenge of the refugee crisis, Europe 2020 – the European Union's growth strategy, public investment and the importance of efficient use of EU Funds; moreover, many questions related to health, with a particular focus on prevention, public health, vaccination and food safety were debated.

In the Romanian capital of Bucharest a very enthusiastic audience of over 100 people took the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the European Commissioner Andriukaitis on one of the last days of the traditional holiday before the new school year.

In his opening statement the Commissioner made it clear that he was there to listen and to learn, and thus communicate the Commission's intention to create a better, more transparent Europe, the "European Union of citizens". In the ensuing debate participants confirmed the need to take advantage of Europe wide networks in the area of health and for European nations to learn from each other and exchange experience, as "health cannot be separated by borders".

In the course of the animated discussion on the refugee crisis, Mr Arafat explained that vaccination should be done in general and it is not connected to the refugee situation. The Commissioner reminded the participants that stopping the refugee crisis requires a comprehensive plan and the involvement of all Member States and all stakeholders. "The EU does not only mean crisis, it also means solutions" he added.

Responding to the relatively low financial allocation to the healthcare system in Romania, Commissioner Andriukaitis explained that sustainable and accessible health systems require better management, better risk assessment and setting the right priorities. Investment in prevention, rather than cure is crucial, as is developing the right health infrastructure, for example e-health. The Commissioner drew attention to the available financial support for health infrastructure through the EU Structural Funds and the Investment Plan and reiterated the need for efficiency in the management of public funds. He explained that Member States and the European Commission work closely together in the Europe 2020 strategy to bring about tangible improvement in the healthcare systems in all Member States.

The discussion on food safety revealed that 51% of the audience deems the level of food safety sufficient, while 49% was not satisfied with it. An area to be worked on - concluded the Commissioner.

According to the last vote among the audience, 79% of the participants considered that their knowledge had improved about the EU. The Commissioner acknowledged he had learnt much and would take the lessons of the discussion back to Brussels, not forgetting about his "homework" regarding food safety.

The event in Bucharest was part of a series of Citizens' Dialogues that involve the whole European Commission and take place in all EU Member States.

Speakers

Practical information

When
10 September 2015, 12.00 (EEST)
Where
Centrul cultural Arcub
Bucharest
Romania

Contact

  • Mihai Roşioru

    Press Officer, Representation of the European Commission in Romania

    Phone number