UEG acts as the united voice of European gastroenterology in the institutions of the European Union. The main aim of EU Affairs is to promote digestive health in Europe through facilitating awareness of digestive cancers, initiatives on chronic diseases, alcohol related harm, obesity and nutrition.
UEG's further priority is to advocate for increased research funding and other support from the EU for digestive diseases. The overarching goal is to strengthen the digestive health community in Brussels through various activities, including the Digestive Health Month campaign annually held in May, establishing a group comprised of the Members of the European Parliament (MEP), and organising the annual Digestive Health Summit towards end of the year.
Key topics of the EU Affairs agenda in 2018
FP9- Framework Programme for Research & Innovation
The European Commission is currently collecting information about the direction that its next major science and research-funding programme, FP9, should take. UEG will contribute to the public consultation on FP9 and will advocate for an increased focus on grants targeted on digestive health. Legislative proposals are expected to be announced towards mid-2018.
UEG continues to highlight the damaging effects of unhealthy drinking and the correlation between alcohol and cancer at EU level. Early this year, the alcohol industry will announce their proposal for the labelling of alcoholic products. UEG will advocate for the adoption of stringent EU-led regulations rather than self-regulatory measures, which would not be sufficient. UEG is a partner of the 6th Awareness Week on Alcohol-Related Harm (AWARH) which takes place in November. The aim of the Week is to highlight the negative effects of alcohol and call for greater policy action to address the social and health problems it can cause. UEG will equally contribute to the 8th European Alcohol Policy Conference that takes place November 20-21, 2018.
In cooperation with MEP Poc we will push for the topic of digestive cancers to receive more attention from the European Parliament. Pancreatic Cancer Day will take place on November 15, 2018 and UEG has committed to producing a report highlighting what needs to be done to tackle this disease. In 2018, pancreatic cancer will be included within the work package "neglected cancers" as part of the European Commission Joint Action on Cancer Control.
Chronic digestive diseases
UEG will continue to raise awareness about diseases such as IBD, Crohn's disease and colitis and will encourage EU policymakers to do more to improve quality of life for patients. World IBD Day takes place on May 19, during Digestive Health Month, and UEG will engage in awareness-raising activities for this. An expert-led article on IBD will be published on our Patient Affairs website.
A new campaign entitled "Toward Healthier Marketing Environment (on alcohol and unhealthy foods)" is foreseen to tackle the industry's approach on marketing of unhealthy foods, particularly towards children. The European Commission's public consultation on the regulation of trans fats will end in February, and it will then take the next steps. UEG will lobby for EU-led top-down controls to be put in place rather than the adoption of a self-regulatory approach by industry.