Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-06-04-Speech-3-026"

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"Thank you, President-in-Office of the Council, for attending today and for the information you have given us. The forthcoming Thessaloniki Summit is of considerable importance for the future of the Union, both in the medium and the long term. It is important to lay the foundations so that Europe, or rather the Union, soon to complete an enlargement process which is unprecedented in its history and in the history of the world, can increasingly combine economic power with political dignity. It is to do justice to the latter that I would like to talk about the policies neglected by that same Union, something which is even more serious as it grows in importance. Health, for example, is one such policy. With reference to Article 152 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, I acknowledge national autonomy for health issues, but a Europe which is heading for enlargement to include 25 countries cannot underestimate the impact which the social and healthcare problems of these countries will have on the political and social economy of the Europe of the future. This is why the UEN Group recently met in Turin and discussed precisely these enlargement-related social and healthcare issues, producing a document that has already been submitted to the President of the Commission, Mr Prodi. The results of this work were not reassuring, so much so that our hope is that, during the six-month Italian Presidency, public health will be included among the Union’s priorities as soon as possible. The globalisation process could see ill people and diseases knocking loudly on Europe’s doors, finding us lacking, as has already happened with regard to SARS infection: a situation which tested our health coordination and cooperation abilities, a matter which the forthcoming Italian Presidency must address if it truly wishes to prevent emergencies and tackle the health service divide that the individual nations are experiencing and which will induce people to travel to countries with health service facilities and centres of excellence, which, in turn, might be in danger of paralysis. I hope that the Union will decide to give consideration to this and that the next Presidency of the Union will put forward proposals in this respect."@en1

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