Health Minister’s Welcome Note
Greece is taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU in a harsh economic conjuncture, with the ambition to contribute to the implementation of the optimal health policies pertinent to the whole of the European Union. The Presidency of the Council constitutes, at the same time, a unique opportunity and a challenge for our country to promote the cooperation between Member States in order to create more efficient and effective health care systems.
Our first priority in the health sector is to highlight the problems European health systems are facing at the level of financing. The economic crisis is now a reality in a large number of countries; this consequently affects health care seriously, a fact that in turn requires a detailed analysis as well as an evaluation of the actions that can lead to an array of interventions so as to address the crisis and develop a recovery model.
The second priority is that of Immigration and Public Health, a European issue in need of a European solution. The goal of the Greek Presidency is to put the immigration issue in the spotlight of discussions whilst promoting cooperation between EU Member States with a view to tackle a common public health challenge.
The third priority of our Presidency is Nutrition and Physical Exercise, given that these are significant factors related to the health of Europeans. Both nutrition, especially Mediterranean Diet, and physical exercise form the pillars of our lifestyle which can determine the overall level of our health.
Healthy food together with the promotion of the Mediterranean Diet model and physical exercise (being all healthy behaviour and lifestyle choices), constitute a shield in the battle against epidemics and chronic diseases. This issue will be dealt with at a High Level Conference to be held on 25-26 February 2014 in Athens.
In addition, the Greek Presidency is aiming to demonstrate the beneficial effects that e-health can bring to patients, health care systems and society. Particularly in times of economic crises, the development of e-Health services may constitute a serious growth and competitiveness factor, restraining the cost of health care and ensuring the sustainability of health systems, while simultaneously maintaining the quality and safety of services at the desired level.
The Greek Ministry of Health invites you to the events of the Greek Presidency and is looking forward to your participation, so that the aforementioned objectives concerning the efficient and effective management of health systems and better health care for all European Union citizens via sustainable health systems are attained.
Minister of Health
Health Deputy Minister’s Welcome Note
The High-Level Conference on “Nutrition and Physical Activity from Childhood to Old Age: challenges and opportunities” that is taking place on 25-26 February 2014, in Athens, Greece is a significant priority of the Hellenic Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The purpose of the Conference is to focus on Nutrition and Physical Activity in relation to health during lifetime, that is from childhood to old age, taking into account both challenges and opportunities in achieving a healthy lifestyle and to set out an integrated EU approach so as to contribute to reducing ill health across the lifespan. Additionally, the aim of the Conference is to develop and facilitate the exchange of Nutrition and Physical Activity policies between EU M - S. Protection and advancement of health of its citizens is a declared priority for the EU. Within the framework of Nutrition and Physical Activity, the objectives of the conference are intended to provide insights into the following areas of expertise:
a) the advantages of prevention over those of medical treatment, with specific emphasis on good nutrition and physical activity for all European population,
b) childhood obesity as a public health problem and its confrontation, which concerns the youth in the European Union,
c) encouragement and adoption of sustainable dietary patterns, which should be highlighted with a view to raising public awareness among not only the privileged social classes in the member states, but also all social stratification and ages, taking into consideration that dietary patterns refer to all people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and
d) stimulation and promotion as well as endorsement of all types of physical activities, such as daily activities or sports or any other exercise, in the context of a modern, integrated, daily lifestyle.
Finally, the Conference is expected to prepare conclusions with the aim to be adopted at the Health Council, so as to further improve European citizens’ life quality and facilitate the exchange of Nutrition and Physical Activity policies between EU M-S.
In light of the above, I look forward to welcoming you to Athens in order to engage in a fruitful discussion on the promotion of nutrition and physical activity across the lifecycle.
Zetta M. Makris
Deputy Minister of Health