Building EU health policy 2

Thursday, 02.10.2014 | 09:00 - 12:00

Organised by the DG Health and Consumers, European Commission

Session 2 | Health and society

This session is divided into two parts.

Part 1: Stakeholder involvement: Not enough, just right or too much of a good thing?

While there is broad agreement that health is a matter of relevance across policies and that its promotion requires the commitment of multiple actors, there is room for discussion in what concerns the right balance in the relationship between public health authorities and stakeholders.

Have the public bodies been played by industry in the recent past, as some fear? Or, quite the opposite, is it the case that we need to develop partnerships with NGOs and the for-profit sector to ensure faster results? Or, perhaps still, is the existing cooperation striking the right balance? In hindsight, cases of lack of regulation are not difficult to identify in the wake of the financial crisis. On the other hand, examples of poorly devised legislation can also be easy to come by. How much and what type of involvement should stakeholders have in the development of public policy in the field of health? What governance structure should frame those contributions?

Interesting examples for this debate may be drawn from the EU action on nutrition and physical activity. It is framed by the 2007 Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity-related Health Issues, that set up action-oriented partnerships involving the Member States (High Level Group for Nutrition and Physical Activity) and civil society (EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health). Within the scope of the Platform, stakeholders have already launched more than 300 voluntary commitments. Examples range from dedicated newsletters targeting expert audiences to a food and beverage industry pledge not to advertise to children under the age of twelve and a variety of results, from basic to excellent, have been achieved. What is now the best way forward?

Panel debate

Hanne Melin, Policy Strategy Counsel EMEA, eBay

David Stuckler, Professor of Political Economy and Sociology, Oxford University, UK

Young Forum Gastein Perspective: Eleanor Brooks, Lancaster University; Research Associate, European Public Health Alliance


Peter O'Donnell, Associate Editor, European Voice

Part 2: Scientific advice: Between innovation and health protection

When preparing its policy and proposals relating to consumer safety, public health and the environment, the Commission relies on independent Scientific Committees to provide it with sound scientific advice and to draw its attention to new and emerging problems. Their opinions are vital for policy-makers to ensure the highest level of health and environmental protection that European citizens expect from the EU institutions. Policy-making based on sound science is the main principle underpinning risk governance and regulation in the European Union. This part of the session will shed light on the working of the EU Scientific Committees, as well as on the principles governing their functioning. Moving from specific scientific opinions, the workshop will address the question on how best to ensure appropriate involvement of stakeholders and citizens.


Donata Meroni, Deputy Head Unit, Health Information Unit, European Commission

Round table discussion, followed by a discussion with the audience

Edith Bon, World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry

Breda Flood, European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations (EFA)

Sara Roda, Council of European Dentists (CED)

Eduardo Rodríguez-Farré, Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)

Matthias Vey, International Fragrance Association (IFRA)


Thomas Platzek, Chair of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)

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