2014: A game of guess who
Kern Briggs, Senior Director of European Public Affairs at Lilly, looks ahead at an important year for the EU
2014 is going to be a changeover year for the EU institutions. Those who think it's going to be a quiet year may be in for a surprise! It's likely to be one of the most "active" years within the institutions.
In terms of political power, it is interesting to note the European Parliament for the first time has a say in selecting the new European Commission President as a result of the Lisbon Treaty rules. It works like this - the pan-European political parties will each nominate a candidate for the President to sit at the top of their electoral list and the Heads of State in June 2014 will have to take that into account.
With Members of the European Parliament either standing down or running again, the lead-up to the elections is set to be an exciting time. A 50% turnover is an expected, so there will be a sea of fresh faces come July when the first Plenary of newly elected MEPs takes place. The game of 'guess who' for the composition of the new European Parliament has already begun.
The run up to the elections marks an invaluable opportunity for MEPs getting into election mode to reach out and connect to their constituents and identify emerging and growing concerns and a vision across a number of economic and social priorities. Out of a host of topics and issues, the formation of this new European Parliament will help set the public health, innovation and industry agenda for the next five years. We'll be keeping a close eye on developments - so watch this space.
But it won't be a quiet time for the European Commission services either. They will be busy completing the current mandate programme whilst preparing for the new five year mandate and new Commissioners set to take over at the political helm of each Directorate-General. All this whilst launching a number of initiatives and events. On health alone, they'll be busy hosting a summit on chronic diseases, while at the same time getting Horizon 2020 going and making recommendations on another round of the European Semester - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. As Europe slowly emerges from the economic crisis, next year is going to prove vital in turning the December Health Council Conclusions into reality and creating more sustainable national health systems.
With the health of citizens and Europe's social and economic wealth intrinsically bound, driving policy forward to improve public health for all is certainly on our wish list for the New Year and beyond.
Follow the developments online via #EP2014 #EU2014 #europedecides