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Ursula von der Leyen’s medical background  has a huge potential, European patient, academic and public health NGOs say

Brussels, 16 July 2019 – On behalf of patients, medical associations, health managers and the wider European  public health community,  we welcome the positive vote for Ursula von der Leyen as the new President-elect of the European Commission.  The support of the European Parliament is a huge responsibility and a concrete set of actions are needed to regain citizens’ trust.

Achieving the strong coordination required for a coherent and robust health policy requires political leadership, drive and dedicated Commission resources to meet citizens’ expectations. We call on Ms von der Leyen to include a senior level health commissioner in her team, with a strong mandate, and to ensure that one of the Vice-Presidents of the Commission has overall responsibility for mainstreaming health across the whole of the Commission. We have outlined the main responsibilities for such a role in our joint call. 

 “The new Commission needs to implement patients’ rights efficiently – this is why a specific face and voice needed within the Commission, to be an ambassador for all patients in Europe.” stressed Marco Greco, EPF Executive Director. 

“The election campaign is over, promises have been made, the time to deliver is now. Health is consistently prominent in the EU Eurobarometer citizens’ surveys. Will the new Commission listen and mainstream health in its next mandate?” stated Freek Spinnewijn, President of EPHA.

 “We are confident that the new President-elect with her academic credentials in medicine and public health as well as her previous experience in health and social policy will heed the desire of European people for the EU to engage more effectively in health and will ensure that health science will be reflected in the evidence-based European Commission policies.” said Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, President of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) 

“An unhealthy population will undermine the European future progress and economic and social development. A coherent, strategic and shared approach on common European health challenges can ensure that the national health systems are managed in a favourable environment.” said Prof. Federico Lega, President of the European Health Management Association (EHMA). “Subsidiarity and EU added value go hand in hand.” he added


 The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) is a change agent – Europe’s leading NGO 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 European Patients’ Forum (EPF) is an umbrella organisation that works with patients’ groups in public health and health advocacy across Europe. Our members represent specific chronic disease groups at EU level or are national coalitions of patients. 

The European Health Management Association (EHMA) is a Belgium based non-profit membership organisation that focuses on enhancing the capacity and capability of health management to deliver high quality healthcare. In doing so we strive to improve sustainability and effectiveness of health systems and services, and the well-being of Europe’s citizens and communities. Centred on a dynamic European health network of managers, educators, providers, researchers, citizens, innovators and policy makers, EHMA achieves its goals by making knowledge about evidence-based effective practice more accessible and by facilitating and supporting improvement, education and training. 

The European Public Health Association, or EUPHA in short, is an umbrella organisation for public health associations in Europe. Our network of national associations of public health represents around 20’000 public health professionals. Our mission is to facilitate and activate a strong voice of the public health network by enhancing visibility of the evidence and by strengthening the capacity of public health professionals. EUPHA contributes to the preservation and improvement of public health in the European region through capacity and knowledge building. We are committed to creating a more inclusive Europe, narrowing all health inequalities among Europeans, by facilitating, activating, and disseminating strong evidence-based voices from the public health community and by strengthening the capacity of public health professionals to achieve evidence-based change.