Commissioner Byrne launches EU public health action programme

The EU’s public health programme, launched on 18 March, has a budget of over 312 million to improve health information and rapid reaction to health threats, as well as to address health determinants.

The three key priorities of the programme are:

  • improving health information and knowledge by creating an integrated EU health information system;
  • ensuring rapid reaction to health threats through reinforcing the European Network on Communicable Deseases and the EU’s rapid alert system for possible bio-terrorist attacks;
  • addressing health determinants, which are factors that influence people’s health, such as lifestyles, social conditions, the environment and working conditions.

The programme also addresses a number of “cross-cutting” issues that link the three main priority objectives, such asageing and health,inequalitites and health,health impact assessment, as well ashealth in the accession countries.


Public Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrnesaid this programme "will enable the EU to produce high quality, comparable health data so that policy makers can accurately monitor health trends on a Europe-wide basis. It will allow the public health community to come together on a Europe wide basis in order to pool their expertise and exchange ideas. It will further improve the EU's capacity to respond rapidly to the major health threats."


In September 2002, The European Parliament and the Council adopted the new public health action programme with the aim of replacing a series of eight EU programmes that focused on individual health issues: cancer, AIDS and other communicable diseases, rare diseases, pollution-related diseases, injury prevention, health monitoring, health promotion and drug abuse.

The public health programme runs between 2003-2008 and will dispose of 312 million euros (to be topped up by special allocations following enlargement in 2004).


  • 21 March 2003: Commission holds an information day in Luxembourg regarding the first call for projects;
  • 16 May: deadline for governmental bodies, academic institutes and NGOs to send project proposals.
  • In the coming months, a new proposal is expected from the Commission on the creation of a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control;
  • Before end 2003, a Communication is to come out on the EU's role in health policy.


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