Recent initiatives by the European Union

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6929.610 (Published 05 March 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:610
  1. M Joffe

    Widespread scepticism surrounded last year's signing of the Maastricht treaty. So far, the response to the treaty has been defensive - for example, to use the principle of subsidiarity to avoid previous responsibilities, notably in environmental protection (step forward, Britain). Sometimes the European Union itself contributes to this scepticism, as in its continuing subsidies for production of tobacco and its damaging proposal for a directive on data protection.1

    The European Union needs to improve its image. Paying more attention to health could be one way of achieving this. Article 129 of the treaty gave the union competence in health protection and is concerned with preventing “major health scourges, including drug dependence.”2

    Last June, the council of health ministers stated that health policy should aim at “adding life to years, as well as years to life.”3 Proposals included improving the quality, comparability, analysis, and distribution of health data and …

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