Shaping the European Healthcare Agenda: The European Parliament
The 8th Parliamentary term of the European Parliament offers a fresh opportunity for patient groups and industry bodies to align with policymakers with an interest in driving better health outcomes. After the summer recess that followed the electoral period, the last quarter of 2014 promises to be a busy one, and organisations that want their messages heard know that policymakers are a critical audience for advancing their issues.
Whilst areas of protection and improvement of health have primarily remained with the Member States, successive treaties have granted increasing powers to the European Parliament thereby making the Parliament an important target for anyone with an interest in shaping EU health policy. Additionally, informal working groups such as MEPs Against Cancer or the European Parliament Working Group on Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS have pledged to do more to improve the health of European citizens in this new parliamentary term.
Capitalising on this momentum and building meaningful relationships with key policy-influencers can help organisations shape the European healthcare agenda and ensure their voices are heard by those who drive change in Europe. In turn, this will have a direct impact on stakeholders in the EU28.
Navigating the complex policy environment in Brussels, however, can be challenging and requires a carefully planned strategy to maximise influence. Similarly, interest groups’ provision of information and technical expertise to MEPs often ensures more informed policy formulation and can be a welcome addition to MEPs’ web of information. By building a mutually beneficial relationship, the efforts of both parties can result in outcomes that will support the people primarily impacted by those policy developments, the patients.