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Call for Action

Achieving Heart Health in Europe

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer in Europe. It represents an enormous burden for the EU economy and it is a major cause of disability and of reduced quality of life. Yet, at least 80% of Coronary Heart Diseases (CHD) are eminently preventable. For this reason, the MEP Heart Group calls for close attention and resolute action by the European Union and its Member States in tackling CVD and achieving a Heart Healthy Europe.

The MEP Heart Group,

- having regard to the Council Conclusions on Heart Health adopted on 1-2 June 2004, which called upon the European Commission and EU Member States to ensure that appropriate action be taken to address cardiovascular disease,

- having regard to the Luxembourg Declaration endorsed on 29 June 2005, which established an agreement among representatives from national Ministries of Health and representatives from European and national Cardiac Societies and Heart Foundations to initiate or strengthen comprehensive prevention plans and to ensure that effective measures, policies and interventions be in place in all European countries to fight CVD,

- having regard to the Council Conclusions on Women’s health and CVD adopted on 1-2 June 2006,

- having regard to the European Heart Health Charter developed by the European Society of Cardiology and the European Heart Network, with the support of the European Commission and the World Health Organization – Regional Office for Europe in June 2007 to prevent cardiovascular disease in Europe,

- having regard to the European Parliament Resolution on action to tackle cardiovascular health of July 2007,

A. whereas each year, CVD accounts for almost half of all deaths in Europe, causing over 4.3 million deaths in Europe and 2.0 million deaths in the EU,

B. whereas CVD is the main cause of the disease burden (illness and death) in Europe (23% of all the disease burden),

C. whereas overall CVD is estimated to cost the EU economy €192 billion a year,

D. whereas risk factor modifications have been unequivocally shown to reduce mortality and morbidity,

E. whereas a tangible European strategy to address CVD is non-existent,

Call for Action: Achieving Heart Health in Europe

1. Calls on the European Commission to:
- reiterate its commitment to tackling CVD by adopting a comprehensive CVD prevention strategy,
- propose Council Recommendations on CVD prevention,
- encourage the collection of comparable data in the field of CVD,
- support the allocation of EU funding to cardiovascular research,

2. Calls on its fellow Members of the European Parliament to:
- assess the impact of EU legislation on cardiovascular health and to vote accordingly,

3. Calls on Member States to:
- develop and implement a strategy on Cardiovascular Health promotion and Cardiovascular Disease prevention, including on monitoring and evaluation.