The EU Diabetes Working Group (EUDWG) is a group of cross-party, cross-national Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) committed to putting diabetes on the European agenda.
The EUDWG was first created in November 2002 by John Bowis MEP, Mary Banotti MEP and IDF Europe, with the support of former EU Health Commissioner David Byrne. It was then re-launched in November 2009 to act as a strong platfrom to build the European Diabetes Coalition's (ECD) EU public affairs programme.
The working group is now co-chaired by 3 cross-party and cross-national high-profile MEPs:
- Therese Comodini Cachia (Malta): European People Party
- Marisa Matias (Portugal): Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left
- Christel Schaldemose (Denmark): Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
The EUDWG co-chairs represent the interests of all people living with diabetes in Europe within the European Parliament and provide dedicated support and advice to the diabetes community in order to drive policy change.
In all its activities, the EUDWG is supported by the European Coalition for Diabetes (ECD), of which IDF Europe is a member. As a Federation representing the voice of people living with diabetes in Europe, IDF Europe is working hard to put diabetes on the agenda in the European Parliament. Our continuous activities and advocacy work with the EU Parliament through the ECD and the EUDWG have greatly contributed to raise awareness on this pressing issue.
In March 2012, years of committed advocacy work by the ECD and EUDWG was rewarded by one of their most important achievements: on 14 March 2012, the European Parliament adopted by a large majority a Resolution on Addressing the EU Diabetes Epidemic, calling on the Commission and Member States to develop and implement a targeted EU Diabetes Strategy in the form of an EU Council Recommendation on diabetes prevention, diagnosis, management, education and research.
The primary aim of the EU Diabetes Working Group is to improve prevention of diabetes, as well as the health and quality of life of all European citizens living with diabetes by influencing EU policy. The EUDWG's principal objectives are to:
- Raise awareness of the diabetes epidemic among MEPs
- Stress the need for urgent actions
- Ensure diabetes is prioritized on the EU agenda
- Map out concrete actions for changeObtain the support of other MEPs for diabetes-related initiatives
- Maintain regular contact with MEPs and provide them with up-to-date and accurate information
EUDWG Policy Objectives
As outlined in the European Diabetes Alliance policy paper, “DELIVERING FOR DIABETES IN EUROPE: The Grand Challenge for the New European Parliament (2009-2014)”, the key policy objectives of the EU Diabetes Working Group are as follows:
1. Public Health: Gain recognition of diabetes as an EU public health priority and support cross-sectoral policies/legislation that promote awareness, prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes
Drive the Commission to develop an EU diabetes strategy, potentially in the form of an EU Council Recommendation and call for increased access to funding via the EU Public Health Programme - both for diabetes-related projects and structural funding for patient organizations.
2. Research: Secure increased funding and better coordination in all fields of diabetes research in Europe
Ensure diabetes receives continued and substantial funding in the annual calls for proposals under the current 7th and future 8th Research Framework Programme, with appropriate coordination of the European diabetes research effort. Increase awareness of the importance of research for tackling the burden of diabetes.
3. Consumer Protection: Ensure that consumers, including people with diabetes, have clear and easily understandable information on the content and nutritional value of the food they buy
Support mandatory, front-of-pack labelling of information on carbohydrates under the proposed new Regulation of Food Information to Consumers. Support the exclusion of foods labelled as ‘suitable for diabetics' from the scope of the PARNUTS Directive (89/398/EEC).
4. Employment & Social Affairs: Support EU policies and legislation that prevent the discrimination of people with diabetes in all aspects of their life, including education, recreation and employment
Encourage the Commission to amend Annex III of Directive 2006/126/EC on driving licences to reduce the restrictions placed on people living with diabetes.
5. Patient Rights & Safety: Put patients, including those living with diabetes, at the centre of EU healthcare policies and legislation and ensure that their rights and safety are protected
Protect the rights and safety of people with diabetes in the proposed Directives on cross-border healthcare and information to patients.
The EU Diabetes Working Group is chaired (on a rotational basis) by one of the four cross-party MEPs.
Membership of the EUDWG is then is composed of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) together with other EU policy makers and stakeholders with an interest or experience in diabetes. This includes representatives of the European Commission (DG Sanco, DG Research, DG Education and Culture) and the Council (EU Permanent Representations/Health Attaches).
The list of current members of the EUDWG is available here.
All MEPs are invited to the EUDWG meetings. The Working Group has been able to rely on a small group of MEPs attending most meetings and willing to actively support follow up actions or other specific initiatives.
The European Commission (DG SANCO, DG Research and other DGs, depending on the theme of the meeting) and Permanent Representations (Health Attachés) also take part in the Working Group meeting with the presence of at least one Commission official.
More information on the EUDWG meetings and the meetings calendar are available here.