Public health civil society must request a wellbeing economy

Guest article by Florence Berteletti

Europe needs to refocus on creating an economy which serves the health and wellbeing of its people and planet, a change civil society needs to shape.

Two decades of worsening health problems demand fundamental system and economic change. None of us can speak about health inequalities and suffering if none of us has the courage to challenge the status quo.

The EU must stop being the tool of short-term economic interests which drive a wide range of worsening threats to its citizen’s health and wellbeing.

Appeasing business interests has meant the EU has failed to deliver for its people on use of our land for unhealthy production of food, animal welfare, air quality, pollution and basic food labelling, to name but a few.

The social and commercial determinants that do so much damage to health are the product of our economic model and the political institutions which support it.

Many DGs, like DG AGRI, DG COMP and DG GROW, (DG SANTE being one of the exceptions) as well as too many Members States and too many MEPs are influenced by business interests, while ignoring our basic human and planetary needs.  As crises mount the EU needs to start fully accounting for its decisions. This means the Better Regulation must include health impact assessments, drawing on data from the likes of the OECD.

The EU needs to provide the highest possible standards for public health. EU must help deliver health measures which member states struggle to deliver alone, for instance in alcohol labelling.

The public health community needs to get out of its comfort zone and look beyond the familiar stories of disease and despair. We must accept they are rooted in a malfunctioning economic and political system.

Democracies are uniquely able to identify problems and make the decisions needed to fix them. Civil society not business must shape the EU’s response to the bloc’s increasingly pressing health problems.

These are the author’s views, not an official statement of EUROCARE.

Disclaimer: the opinions – including possible policy recommendations – expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of EPHA. The mere appearance of the articles on the EPHA website does not mean an endorsement by EPHA.

Get the EPHA Newsletter

Get involved !

Get involved !

Sign up here to receive our updates on European health policy and invitations to our events.

Subscribe now

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This