Monday 2 November 2009

The EU in German blogs (10): EU debates health policy - and nobody notices

The well-known German health politics blogger strappato just published an article titled "Die EU debattiert unbemerkt über Gesundheitspolitik" (English: "EU debates health policy - and nobody notices") in which he criticises a recent public consultation by DG SANCO that remained almost unseen by a wider public.

Strappato was so kind to allow me to translate the integral post and to publish it here on my blog:
The influence of the EU on health policies is underestimated. Not even the recent debates on controversial initiatives like the strengthening of patient rights in cross-border health care or the maceration of the ban on advertisement for pharmaceutical products have been noticed by the public or the media.

Hence, it is no surprise that the EU [Commission] Directorate-General Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) invited to contact the administration in several online fora without being noticed. The occasion: The tenth anniversary of DG SANCO. From 14 September to 9 October, European citizens could use the opportunity to raise their voice in their own languages to address consumer and health policies and to share their views with others, according to the goals formulated.

The response rate was far from overwhelming. In the German forum only eight posts are losing themselves. And not much difference in the other official EU languages. Only the English forum was more lively.

The communication deficit, however, is on the side of the initiators. Established without proper public relation activities, for a too short time period, without moderation. The EU Commission has shown how much she appreciates the participation of citizens. And the announcement that five participants of the "European debate" were to be invited to a seminar together with Commissioners and former Commissioners for health and consumers on 23 October 2009 in Brussels seemed helpless.

Travel and accommodation costs were paid by the EU Commission. A press release on the event? Nothing so far.
Did anyone of you notice this "debate" or the event with citizens? I haven't heard anything about it...