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Advocating for public health at EU level Anne Hoel European Public Health Alliance Brussels, 21 November 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Advocating for public health at EU level Anne Hoel European Public Health Alliance Brussels, 21 November 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Advocating for public health at EU level Anne Hoel European Public Health Alliance Brussels, 21 November 2006

2 Outline of presentation The EU and health – who’s who? The role of civil society organisations The EU and health – what is on the agenda?

3 EU and health – the main players

4 EU and Health - Who’s who – the European Commission: voice of the general interest (1/4)  Official role as the ‘Guardian of the Treaty’. It has the sole right to initiate legislation, and monitors implementation of EU laws. If Member States do not implement laws adequately the Commission can start infringement procedures.  DG: DG Health and Consumer Protection, DG Environment, DG Employment and Social Affairs, DG Internal Market and Services, DG Competition, DG Agriculture, DG Development, DG Education and Culture, DG Trade, DG Research, DG Information Society, DG Transport, DG Enterprise, DG Tax and Customs  Agencies: EMEA, ECDC, EFSA, European Agency for Safety and Health at Work  How can NGOs interact with the European Commission? Formal consultation procedures (Green Papers, Platforms, etc) and INFORMAL channels

5 EU and Health - Who’s who – The European Council 2/4  The EU is a union of Member States. The highest political and legislative authority is the European Council which consists of Member States  Co-decision body  Format of the Council: Meetings are attended by whichever ministers are responsible for the items to be discussed: foreign ministers, ministers of the economy and finance, ministers for agriculture, etc…  National civil servants (‘PermReps’) posted to Brussels meet weekly to prepare the Ministerial meetings.  How can NGOs influence the Council? WORK AT NATIONAL LEVEL and awareness raising of ‘Perm Reps’ (right to questions)

6 EU and Health - Who’s who – The European Parliament - Direct of of the citizens 3/4 732 MEPS, elected for 5 years by the citizens of the EU to represent their interests, organised into broad political groups. Job: pass “European Laws” (together with the Council of Ministers), approve the annual and multi annual budgets of the EU Power to dismiss the European Commission and ‘watch-dog’ to the European Commission The Parliament operates through Committees that reflect the principal policy areas. Health in the European Parliament: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety* (ENVI), Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), Internal Market and Consumer Protection* (IMCO), Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) How can NGOs influence the Parliament? Meet with MEPs at European or national level, suggest amendments, input into reports, draft questions, suggest oral questions, etc…

7 EU and Health - Who’s who – other players 4/4 International organisations and institutions Local and regional authorities Social partners Think tanks Chambers of commerce Trade associations Consultancies, lawyers and lobbyists NGOs Medias

8 EU and Health - The role of NGOs Many EU policies have an impact – direct or indirect – on the health of EU citizens 15,000 to 20,000 lobbyists in Brussels and ONLY 10% are NGOs representing citizens’ interests Networking and alliances are the ONLY way to make our voice heard - You are unlikely to succeed alone. Use other NGOs resources rather than “re-invent the wheel” on your own.

9 EU and Health - The role of NGOs – Advocacy Information services - overview of EU institutions, tracking policy and political events Introductions to policy-makers, Networking - meeting the other key actors, putting faces to the names, stakeholder analysis Visibility - raising the profile of your organisation, ensuring that your voice is heard Lobbying - getting your viewpoints across and providing detailed expertise (amendments for legislation, data and statistics, writing reports)

10 EU and Health – the role of NGOs as watch-dogs  Challenge - the policy-makers and other stakeholders to address concerns or provide evidence and arguments for their positions  Empower - provide the tools for NGOs to act, eg draft letters, opportunities to sign-up, attend meetings with policy-makers.  Represent - bringing forward the diversity of voices of civil society, public interest, visibility through the media.  Follow-up - keep up the momentum, follow the policy through to implementation, evaluation and review

11 The health agenda for /2 EU Health budget for the next 7 years: 365,6 million Euros = 11 cents per citizen per year…. Where is health in the policies of the EU????

12 The health agenda for /2 EU health Strategy (SANCO) Mental Health Strategy (SANCO) Nutrition Strategy and nutrition labelling (SANCO) Alcohol Strategy (and raising VAT taxes?) (SANCO) CAP – Common Agriculture Policy (towards a healthier CAP?) (AGRI) Information to Patients (IND) Demographic changes (EMPL) Audiovisual policy (INFSO) Health services initiative (SANCO) and services of general interest (EMPL) Smoke-free Europe? (SANCO) Environment and Health (mercury, chemicals, etc…) (ENV) The Road Safety Action Plan (TRANS)

13 European Public Health Alliance Rue d’Arlon B-1000 Brussels Belgium Tel: Fax:

14 Conclusion: Lobbying and the role of NGOs in Brussels – Defining lobbying Direct lobbying: Stating your position on specific legislation to legislators or other government employees who participate in the formulation of legislation, or urge your members to do so. Grassroots lobbying: Stating your position on legislation to the general public and asking the general public to contact legislators or other government employees who participate in the formulation of legislation.

15 Conclusion: Roles of the NGO sector  Monitor, analyse and inform > what is happening in the institutions? What are the new policy trends, legal proposals? > what could this mean for your member organisations or target group? What actions are needed - passive monitoring or active lobbying? > explain the background of the issue, basic elements of the proposal, the timeframe for action  Raise awareness – within our membership and other NGOs - ensure that members understand the implications for them and their issues of this policy or legislation  Engage and consult - encourage debate, exchange of ideas, brainstorm on what should be the goals of lobbying. Gather viewpoints from communities and target groups - particularly those affected by the policy proposal


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