#EP2014: The Countdown Continues

#EP2014 - 15 days to go

The first day of the European Elections, May 22nd, is only 15 days away. Campaign trails are crossing Europe, and televised debates with national and European figureheads are the order of the day now.

europe map red

We know that, as usual with European elections, the European Parliament is likely to change significantly. What is new this time, however, is that we can observe a very first election campaign for the leadership of the European Commission. How does this work?

Political party groups at European level have put forward their preferred candidates for the post of President of the European Commission (currently held by Jose Manuel Barroso). If one of these European-level political groups has a significant majority of Members of European Parliament (MEPs) after the elections in May then, in theory, that political group is likely to nominate the candidate for the highly influential post of European Commission President. ‘In theory’, as this system is not entirely endorsed by all European heads of government. Nevertheless, the European Parliament has the right to endorse or dismiss the European Commission. Therefore, the end of May will be a very interesting time for European politics. 

Impact on health

bottles of medicinesSo, how  are all these changes going to affect health in Europe? The past few years, we have seen various European legislative proposals being discussed affecting healthcare, the health of European citizens, and our sector. From European rules regarding clinical trials, to ensuring the safety of medicines by fighting fake medicines; it has been a busy parliamentary mandate.

After the European parliamentary elections we will also see a ‘reshuffle’ of other European institutional posts in and beyond Brussels. The 28 EU Member States will all send their European Commissioners who will be taking on posts dealing with important themes including Health, Research & Innovation, Trade and internal market. These people, along with civil servants, experts and other stakeholders throughout Europe, will have an opportunity to shape the next few years of European policy on healthcare, research, innovation, competiveness and trade policy.  Ensuring these policies have positive outcomes for patients is no simple task, and will require collaboration. Partnerships will also continue to play an important role in shaping European policies. At Lilly, one of the public-private partnerships we are actively involved in is the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). Read more about IMI and diabetes in our previous blog here.

Innovation Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

The new European Parliament too is likely to have a big impact on health policy. How will the political set-up of the newly elected Parliament impact discussions on health systems? Will the European Parliament endorse the anticipated trade agreement between the EU and the US, also referred to as  TTIP?

We will start to see the answers to these questions between 22nd and 26th of May, though the long-term impacts may only be known in years to come.

If you are keen to know more about our suggestions on how best to address Europe’s future health challenges, take two minutes to read our earlier blog post highlighting the interdependent principles for health and growth; better health outcomes, sustainable financing, and thriving ecosystems.

 Follow the debates online via #EP2014