5 Things We Liked about November

November was a busy month with lots of events and policy developments taking place across Europe. Here's our pick of the bunch.

1) Diabetes takes centre-stage

The second week of November was jam-packed with a host of activities focused on diabetes in the lead up to World Diabetes Day on Thursday 14th November. Firstly, EU Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg addressed the EU Diabetes working group in the European Parliament and announced that that there will be a specific focus on diabetes as part of the European Commission's forthcoming Joint Action on Chronic Diseases. Brussels was then a hive of activity later, on World Diabetes Day - throughout the day you could stop by the European Parliament for blood glucose testing, whilst the morning had kicked off with politicians and stakeholders debating Ingredients for a Healthy Lifestyle at a breakfast meeting. Numerous campaigns across the globe also took place calling for empowerment through education for people living with Diabetes, and for creating a greater understanding and awareness of the disease for the general public, governments, and health care professionals.

If you want to read more about what went on during the week then look no further than here.

2) Rallying call to action from Vilnius

The Lithuanian EU Presidency Conference on "Sustainable Health Systems for Inclusive Growth in Europe" took place in Vilnius, on 18-19 November. The event sought to assess how best to develop more sustainable health systems in Europe and continue to provide the best care for all citizens. The outcome of the conference was the 'Vilnius Declaration' which calls for action for immediate moves to invest in health promotion, deliver universal access and reform health systems. These are goals that we whole-heartedly support and we share we share the commitment to achieving equitable access to healthcare for all.

3) TTIP reignited

On 13 and 14 November, AmCham Germany held its 7th Annual Transatlantic Business Conference 'The Transatlantic Marketplace: Challenges and Opportunities Beyond 2013' in Frankfurt. Bringing together over 250 delegates, including leading business executives and politicians, the discussions on TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) were a recurring theme throughout the discussions, as the second round of negotiations were taking place simultaneously in Brussels. TTIP could provide great opportunities for promoting innovation, jobs and growth and speed patients' access to new medicine. As such we will be tracking negotiations and developments closely. For more information on TTIP, check out our infographic here.

4) Innovation on the cards

The Horizon 2020 framework for Research and Innovation took another step closer to implementation in November following the European Parliament plenary session. MEPs voted strongly in favour of the new legislation so it all looks set to meet the targeted implementation date of the start of 2014. The programme will seek to boost investment in research and innovation in Europe, and health has been highlighted as a key area for targeted investment. We're sure that you're no stranger by now to our commitment to driving research and innovation, so progress with H2020 was always bound to feature amongst our highlights!

5) Last but certainly not least: the EDDs came to town

The European Development Days in Brussels on the 26-27 November were certainly not going to go by unnoticed. This event attracted hundreds of representatives from an enormous range of different organisations, all with the common goal of trying to secure the future of development in Europe and around the World. The programme of the event was diverse but health-related topics were a key talking point. With the deadline of 2015 for achieving the Millennium Development Goals rapidly approaching, discussions are turning to how to generate a final push, and looking forward to the post-2015 agenda. We expect that sustainability, particularly in healthcare systems, will continue to be a theme next year and will keep you abreast of any events.

As we near the Christmas period people are looking forward to the holidays, but things are by no means coming to a halt just yet in Brussels. There's still plenty to watch out for over the next coming weeks, so keep checking back for updates!