Article written by Newcastle MEP Jude Kirton-Darling after she met with EASL Scientific Committee member Dr Helen Louise Reeves, other NE hepatologists and EASL EU Director of Public Affairs, Fiona Godfrey in Newcastle, UK, recently.
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EU Public Affairs

About the European Union

The European Union consists of 28 Member States and a population of approximately 500 million citizens. The key legislative and decision-making bodies are the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament. The Commission is responsible for proposing legislation and the Council and Parliament are responsible for amending proposals and adopting it. The Member States are largely responsible for ensuring that EU legislation and other policies are implemented. The European Commission, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Auditors are responsible for ensuring that the Member States are applying EU policy and legislation.

It is often said that the EU interferes too much in national life and that the European Parliament “has no real power and is just a talking shop.” Whilst the first may sometimes be true the second part is not. Since the Treaty of Lisbon the European Parliament has been given much more power to enact EU legislation and its decisions affect all of the EU’s citizens, including Europe’s hepatology professionals and liver patients.  Key EU policies for us include Horizon 2020 with its 70 billion Euros of funding, including 7 billion for health research between 2014 and 2020; a public health programme (2014-2020) with a budget of over 400 million Euros and legislation on alcohol taxation, clinical trials, medical devices and organ transplantation to name just a few examples.

For all these reasons EASL has been active in advocacy towards the EU institutions since 2009. Working with members, liver patients and other organisations affected by liver disease our aim is to raise awareness of liver disease in the EU, increase funding for prevention, research and treatment and to reduce the overall prevalence of liver disease suffered by the EU’s citizens.  Last but not least, we also work to ensure that the EU makes it easier for hepatologists and related professionals to do their job by tracking EU legislation on issues related to professional training, education and development.

For more on the EU and its institutions and programmes see: European Union

For more information about EASL advocacy activities in Brussels, please contact:
Fiona Godfrey

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