Joint Open Letter I Health & medical associations urge CAP rapporteur to maintain “health” as a policy objective

Brussels, 26 November 2018

Dear Ms Herranz García,

The undersigned organisations have taken note of your draft report on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plans and are deeply concerned about your proposal to remove reference to “health” from the CAP specific objectives[1].

We believe this proposal runs counter to citizens’ interests, for whom health is a primary and increasing concern[2] [3], as well as the outcomes of the CAP consultation, where the incorporation of health was a prominent demand among respondents[4]. Moreover, it is inconsistent with the European Commission’s Communication, which committed the CAP to become more apt at addressing critical health issues[5]; the European Parliament’s own recent resolution on the future of food and farming, which stresses that the CAP should be designed to better tackle health challenges and concerns[6]; the European Union (EU) treaties, which mandate the EU to pursue a high level of human health protection in all its policies and actions[7]; and the economic interests of Member States and the EU at large, considering that nearly 10% of GDP in the EU is spent on healthcare[8].

As a key common policy and the EU’s single largest budget item, a CAP that is fit for the future will need to find a better response to both the health risks and opportunities connected to the food and agricultural system. Addressing societal challenges and demands on health should therefore be an integral part of the CAP specific objectives.

We urge you to reconsider this amendment in the further course of the legislative procedure and to ensure the future CAP protects and promotes human health.

Sincerely yours,


Annabel Seebohm, Secretary General, Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME)

Caroline Costongs, Director, EuroHealthNet

Susanne Løgstrup, Director, European Heart Network (EHN)

Sascha Marschang, Acting Director, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director, Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL)



The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) represents national medical associations across Europe. CPME is committed to contributing the medical profession’s point of view to EU institutions and European policy-making through pro-active cooperation on a wide range of health and healthcare related issues.

EuroHealthNet is the leading Partnership for Health, Equity and Wellbeing in Europe, with key activities in policy, practice as well as research. Its unique focus is on reducing health inequalities through action on the social determinants of health, integrating sustainable development goals, and contributing to the transformation of health systems. Its main members are authorities and statutory bodies responsible for public health, health promotion and disease prevention at national, regional and local level.

The European Heart Network (EHN) is a Brussels-based alliance of foundations and associations dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke and supporting patients throughout Europe. EHN plays a leading role in the prevention and reduction of cardiovascular diseases, in particular heart disease and stroke, through advocacy, networking, capacity-building, patient support, and research so that they are no longer a major cause of premature death and disability throughout Europe.

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) is a change agent – Europe’s leading NGO alliance advocating for better health. We are a dynamic member-led organisation made up of public health NGOs, patient groups, health professionals and disease groups, working together to improve health and strengthen the voice of public health in Europe.

The Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL) is the leading not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects human health in the European Union (EU) and beyond. HEAL works to shape laws and policies that promote planetary and human health and protect those most affected by pollution, and raise awareness on the benefits of environmental action for health.

HEAL’s over 70 member organisations include international, European, national and local groups of health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, patients, citizens, women, youth, and environmental experts representing over 200 million people across the 53 countries of the WHO European Region.



[1] Amendments 65 and 433, Draft report on CAP Strategic Plans, 2018/0216 (COD), referring to Article 6(1)(i), European Commission – Proposal for a regulation COM(2018) 392

[2] Eurobarometer 89 (2018) Spring 2018

[3] Eurobarometer (2017) Two years until the 2019 European elections

[4] European Commission. Consultation on modernising and simplifying the common agricultural policy (CAP)

[5] European Commission (COM(2017) 713 final. The Future of Food and Farming

[6] European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the future of food and farming (2018/2037(INI))

[7] Articles 9 and 168(1) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

[8] OECD/EU (2018) Health at a Glance: Europe 2018 – State of Health in the EU Cycle

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