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21. 1.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 19/1

II
(Preparatory Acts)

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Proposal for a European Parliament
and Council Decision adopting a programme of Community action from 1999 to 2003 on
injury prevention in the context of the framework for action in the field of public health’ (1)

(98/C 19/01)

On 6 June 1997 the Council decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee, under
Article 129 (4) of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned
proposal.

The Section for Protection of the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Affairs, which
was responsible for preparing the Committee’s work on the subject, adopted its opinion on
7 October 1997. The rapporteur was Miss Maddocks (Co-rapporteurs: Mr Linssen and
Mrs Wahrolin).

At its 349th plenary session (meeting of 29 October 1997), the Economic and Social Committee
adopted the following opinion by 75 votes to three with one abstention.

1. Introduction 1.1.2. The programme responds to the specific call


made by both the European Parliament and the
Council (3), and it seeks to promote public health by
1.1. The Commission Communication on the frame- contributing to actions which reduce the incidence of
work for action in the field of public health (2) set out injury, by promoting the more effective dissemination
criteria on which to determine priority areas for future and application of prevention techniques whose worth
Community action programmes. It also identified and is widely accepted by experts, and by helping to
announced several such areas, including injury preven- strengthen the general capacity of public health bodies
tion, pollution-related diseases and rare diseases. The to mount effective injury prevention activities.
Commission has just adopted relevant programmes in
these three fields.
1.2. Injury is a broad concept which in principle
1.1.1. The present proposal for an action programme covers all kinds of ill-health resulting from external
on injury prevention (1999-2003) is based on Article 129 causes (as opposed to disease processes) and, in the EC,
of the Treaty and comes under the principle of shared is the leading cause of death at all ages between 1 and 34,
competence between the Community and the Member and also the over 75s.
States.

(1) OJ C 202, 2. 7. 1997, p. 20. (3) EP: Resolution of 19 November 1993, OJ C 329, 6. 12. 1993
(2) COM(93) 559 final, 24. 11. 1993, ESC Opinion: OJ C 388, — Council: Resolution of 27 May 1993, OJ C 174,
31. 12. 1994. 25. 6. 1993.
C 19/2 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 21. 1. 98

1.3. The present Commission proposal targets a small will incorporate information on Community financing
number of key areas within the broad field covered by in the various fields of action as well as the results of
the concept of injury, selected on the basis that they: evaluations.

— are an important cause of avoidable injury and


death;
1.7. The financial framework for the implementation
— are not already addressed by action at Community of the programme for the year 1999 shall be ECU
level; 1,3 million in keeping with the current financial perspec-
tives. The cost for the remaining four years (2000-2003)
— present opportunities for cost-effective intervention; shall be determined after the establishment of the future
Community financial perspectives.
— would deliver Community added value by bringing
together and complementing work done at national
and sub-national level.

1.3.1. These target areas are: 2. General comments

— home and leisure accidents to children, young adults


and elderly people; 2.1. The Economic and Social Committee congratu-
lates the Commission for the latest proposals for action
— accidents to children while at school; programmes in the context of the Communication on
the framework for action in the field of public health.
— suicide and lesser forms of deliberate self-harm These programmes show a will towards a more horizon-
(sometimes called parasuicide); tal approach in public health policy, according to which
health promotion should deal with all aspects of the
— injury prevention capacity. living environment. Such approach was advocated by
the Committee in its opinion on the above-mentioned
1.4. The incentive measures proposed are of two communication (1).
kinds:

— support for the sharing — and shared development — 2.2. The Committee welcomes the Commission pro-
of expertise, particularly in the selection of inter- posal aiming at health promotion through injury preven-
ventions and the epidemiology of injury; tion. It also notices with satisfaction that the new
Article 129(1) of the Treaty makes a more specific
— encouraging improvement in the quality of data reference to this type of action, as it states that
about injuries, which are vital to determine what ‘Community action ... shall be directed towards ...
situations, products, behaviours and places are obviating sources of danger to human health’.
dangerous.

1.5. The means which will be appropriate for achiev- 2.3. The Committee is particularly pleased that the
ing the above at a Community level are: Commission is carrying out a more in-depth analysis of
the health circumstances of specific age groups (i.e.
— encouraging and supporting the creation of net- children, young and elderly people) and environments
works; (i.e. home and schools) as reflected in the current
proposal. Such analysis is in line with the ‘New
— dissemination of information about prevention cam- Approach’ on public health policy suggested by the
paigns; Committee in the context of the Communication in the
field of public health (2).
— work on improving the quality of data;

— supporting surveys and technical investigations of


injury risk factors; 2.4. The present proposal aims at facilitating the
sharing of existing expertise, both technical and non-
— helping Member States to coordinate policies and technical, on injury prevention at both Member State
programmes; and Community level. This aim reflects the principles
of the Committee’s opinion on the aforementioned
— adding public health value to other Community communication (2), which stressed the need to involve
programmes. all interested parties, to assure a more solid scien-
tific/technical basis and to prevent duplication of efforts

1.6. An evaluation of the actions implemented under


the programme will be provided in two reports, one
during the third year (evaluation) and a final report on (1) Cf. p. 6 of the Opinion, OJ C 388, 31. 12. 1994.
the implementation of the programme. These reports (2) Cf. p. 7 of the Opinion, OJ C 388, 31. 12. 1994.
21. 1. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 19/3

with regards to health policy. Such involvement should 3.2.1.3. It is also vital, in the view of the Committee
be guaranteed at the earliest possible stage. and as stated in its opinions on the subject (4), to improve
the system which has also been outlined in the present
Commission proposal. In this context, the Committee
2.4.1. The Committee stresses the importance of the feels that the Commission should issue guidelines on the
role to be played by voluntary organizations which have methodologies to be followed for data collection in
recognized and valuable experience to offer in this field. order to achieve comparability of information between
Member States.

3. Specific comments
3.2.1.4. In this way, EHLASS could further improve
its cost-effectiveness and give the necessary added value
at Community level for the provision of information on
3.1. Article 3: Budget. On one hand, the Committee home and leisure accidents. Once good quality/reliable
understands the reasons behind the relatively modest information is available, it will then be possible to
budget — 1,3 MECU — for the implementation of the develop quantitative targets for injury reduction which,
action programme. On the other hand, the Commission in the view of the Committee, are fundamental for
presents very strong evidence on the cost-effectiveness achieving the objectives of the proposed action pro-
of the proposed measures (1). Therefore, and given that gramme.
funds are only allocated up to 1999, the Committee
considers it critical that, from the onset, the continuity
of the programme is guaranteed until the year 2003,
which is the end of the proposed period of action. 3.2.2. Product safety — The Committee also feels, in
line again with comments made on the EHLASS system,
that there should be a strong cross-link established
3.2. Article 4: Consistency and complementarity. The between injury prevention and Directive 92/59/EEC on
Committee considers it essential that consistency and general product safety (5). In this connection, it endorses
complementarity with other relevant Community pro- those proposed measures (i.e. under the injury prevention
grammes and actions are guaranteed especially with capacity area) directed to add public health value to
regards to: other Community policies for injury prevention such as
the above-mentioned directive.
3.2.1. The EHLASS system — Data on home and
leisure accidents have been collected since 1986 under
the EHLASS system (2). This information has been used, 3.2.3. Indeed, the Committee welcomes those changes
inter alia, in prevention campaigns, negotiations with to Article 129 of the Treaty directed to ensuring a high
industry to modify products, and the introduction of level of human health protection in the definition and
standards and regulations. implementation of all Community policies and activities.

3.2.1.1. The Committee is aware that the relevant


Commission services have just completed a final report 3.2.4. Health monitoring — ‘Accidents at home’ is
on the implementation and effectiveness of the EHLASS one of the domains in which health indicators may be
system on the basis of which the system might be established under a future Community action pro-
extended beyond its current expiry date of end of gramme on health monitoring (6). It is therefore vital, in
1997 (3). the view of the Committee, to avoid any duplication or
overlap of work between that programme and the
proposed one, in order to achieve efficient interaction
3.2.1.2. The Committee feels that the action pro- between them.
gramme on injury prevention cannot function without
the EHLASS system and calls for it to be extended.

3.3. Article 5: Comitology. The Committee feels that


(1) Cf. p. 4, point I(4), COM(97) 178 final, Communication the views of the various socio-economic partners and
from the Commission concerning a Community action interests involved in injury prevention should be con-
programme on injury prevention in the context of the sidered by Member States when making nominations
framework for action in the field of public health.
(2) Council Decision 86/138/EEC, OJ L 109, 26. 4. 1986.
for the Advisory Committee that is to assist the Com-
Council Decision 93/683/EEC, OJ L 319, 21. 12. 1993
— Opinion ESC: OJ C 201, 26. 7. 1993. Decision No
30922/94/EC of the European Parliament and of the
Council, OJ L 331, 21. 12. 1994 — Opinion ESC: OJ C 195,
18. 7. 1994. (4) OJ C 201, 26. 7. 1993; OJ C 195, 18. 7. 1994.
(3) Decision No 30922/94/EC of the European Parliament and (5) OJ L 228, 11. 8. 1992 — ESC Opinion: OJ C 75, 26. 3. 1990.
of the Council OJ L 331 21. 12. 1994 — Opinion ESC: OJ (6) OJ C 338, 16. 12. 1995 — ESC Opinion: OJ C 174,
C 195, 18. 7. 1994. 17. 6. 1996.
C 19/4 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 21. 1. 98

mission on both the criteria and procedures for selecting 3.4. Article 7: Monitoring and evaluation. The Com-
and financing projects under the programme, and the mittee is pleased to note that it will receive copies of the
evaluation procedure. evaluation and implementation reports.

Brussels, 29 October 1997.

The President
of the Economic and Social Committee
Tom JENKINS

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Proposal for a European Parliament
and Council Decision adopting a programme of Community action 1999-2003 on rare diseases
in the context of the framework for action in the field of public health’ (1)

(98/C 19/02)

On 27 June 1997 the Council decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee, under
Article 129 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned
proposal.
The Section for Protection of the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Affairs, which
was responsible for preparing the Committee’s work on the subject, adopted its opinion on
7 October 1997. The rapporteur was Mr Fuchs; co-rapporteurs were Mr Lemmetty and
Mr Linssen.
At its 349th plenary session (meeting of 29 October 1997), the Economic and Social Committee
adopted the following opinion by 101 votes to three, with one abstention.

1. Introduction Parliament (4) supported the idea of an action programme


on rare diseases. Furthermore, the Council invited the
Commission to take stock of existing knowledge and
experience regarding rare diseases and to examine the
1.1. The proposed five-year action programme (1999- situation of orphan drugs in the Community (5).
2003), which is based on Article 129 of the Treaty and
which is accompanied by a explanatory communication,
seeks to address the problem of rare diseases in the
Community by complementing ongoing work on this
subject in the Member States. The problem of rare 1.3. To address the problem of rare diseases the
diseases, which, in contrast to the United States, has not Commission proposes a number of specific actions
been dealt with systematically in most of the Member under three headings: i) actions to provide better
States to date, was identified as one of the eight priority information on the different aspects of rare diseases (e.g.
areas for Community action in the 1993 Commission the establishment of a European rare diseases database);
communication on the framework for action in the field ii) actions in support of patient and family support
of public health (2). groups (e.g. the establishment of such groups and their
collaboration); and iii) actions on handling rare diseases
clusters (e.g. the monitoring of rare diseases and the
creation of rare diseases cluster response teams).
1.2. In response to this communication both the
Economic and Social Committee (3) and the European

(4) See its Resolution A4-0311/95 on the Medium-Term Social


(1) OJ C 203, 3. 7. 1997, p. 6. Action Programme 1995-1997 — OJ C 32, 5. 2. 1996.
(2) COM(93) 559 final. (5) See its Resolution of 20 December 1995 — OJ C 350,
(3) See its opinion of 6 July 1994 — OJ C 388, 31. 12. 1994. 30. 12. 1995.