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European Union policy and health

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 04 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1180
  1. Mike Rayne
  1. Research officer Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6HE Southampton SO1 6ST

    New report leaves much to be desired

    In her presentation to the European environment and public health committee the Spanish minister for health, Mrs Angeles Amador, outlined the agenda for the forthcoming meeting of the European Union's health council on 30 November. Although much of this centres on continuing and extending existing programmes, her insistence that health must be an integral part of all union policies and that the recently published audit report on health should be debated in depth is a welcome sign that article 129 of the Maastricht treaty is being taken seriously. This states that “health protection requirements shall form a constituent part of the union's other policies” and in effect means that the European Union has to check that proposals for new policies (in any field) do not have an adverse impact on health or create conditions that undermine the promotion of health.

    The audit report on the integration of health protection requirements in community policies was produced by the commission's public health directorate.1 It was compiled from the information obtained after the 23 other directorates had been written to and asked to submit their assessments of how they were taking health into consideration in their policy areas.2 It was published at around the same time as a parallel and much more widely publicised report, produced in conjunction with the World Health Organisation's Regional Office for Europe.3 This includes the main demographic trends and patterns of morbidity and mortality and a discussion of the main determinants of health. It thus provides a useful baseline against which to …

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