European Commission’s action on health priorities
In an exclusive interview with Government Gazette, Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, discusses the EU action on cancer, diabetes and healthcare technology
The incidence of prostate cancer and diabetes has significantly increased over the past two decades and continued growth is expected, due to an aging population. While greater awareness of the causes and earlier diagnosis can provide hope for these two major non communicable diseases, they continue to impose a heavy financial burden on our health services. Government Gazette interviews the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety to find out more about the European Commission’s action on the deadly diseases. Read the full story »
Reducing mortality rates tops MAC’s latest agenda
The MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) group strives to reduce cancer incidence by promoting prevention, reducing mortality through equitable access to high-quality care and ensuring good quality of life for cancer patients. MEP Nessa Childers, Vice President, MEPs Against Cancer Group talks about the European Parliament’s fight against cancer
Cancer is an ever growing public health concern. In 2012, cancer was the second most common cause of death in the EU: around 708,000 men and 555,000 women died from it, the main causes being lung, colorectal, prostate, pancreatic, stomach and liver cancer among men, and breast, lung, colorectal, pancreatic, ovarian and stomach cancer among women. Aside from this killer’s human toll, from an economic point of view, cancer is a major burden, costing EU Member States a total of €126 billion in 2009. Read the full story »
The five faces of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer can no longer be treated as one disease. Dr. Alastair Lamb, Clinical Lecturer in Urology, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, UK, outlines some recent work identifying genetic subtypes of prostate cancer and how this could alter future care
The question that often arises from the patient is “When will this prostate cancer kill me, doctor?”. The question may take a softer form than this but the point is the same: men want to know whether this new diagnosis they have just received is going to shorten their life; whether it means they can no longer go on the long-planned family trip to Australia next year; or whether they’ll see their first grandchild born. Read the full story »
Active surveillance – a great alternative to curative therapies
The ‘active surveillance’ protocol has become an alternative to curative therapy for prostate cancer that is unlikely to be biologically or clinically significant. However, Dr Riccardo Valdagni, Director, Radiation Oncology, European School of Oncology says men who choose to be monitored under ‘active surveillance’ need to be thoroughly informed of their disease and the observational program
Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy among men, with estimated 1.446.483 new case and 715.257 deaths in 2012. The number of diagnoses has increased since the introduction of PSA as a routine exam in the early Nineties. The good thing is that up to 50% of the new prostate cancers detected can be considered clinically insignificant or indolent. This is a relatively new concept in oncology and means that these very well localised, small and non aggressive tumors, which are diagnosed with a biopsy following PSA rises, would not cause symptoms and/or cause death during one’s life. Read the full story »
Improving European healthcare with evidence-based information
For almost 40 years, the European Association of Urology has addressed the most pressing concerns of urological diseases. Prof. Dr. Nicolas Mottet and Prof. Dr. Hein Van Poppel — on behalf of the EAU — elaborate how it strives to assist medical professionals and researchers in developing reliable patient information on 11 urological diseases in 16 European languages
Urological diseases represent a collection of various symptoms and conditions, most of them predominantly related to age. Furthermore, with the rise in the elderly population within Europe, we expect an increase in urological problems. Among urological cancers, prostate cancer is the first malignancy in men, the third cause of death from cancer in men, and leading cause of health expenses. Read the full story »
Integrated services: (how) does it work?
Local public social services rise to the integration challenge. John Halloran, CEO and Alfonso Lara Montero, Policy Director, The European Social Network share their experiences from a recent seminar on integrated services
On 5-6 November, more than 100 participants from 24 European countries joined our annual seminar in Manchester, which looked at how local public social services are addressing the concept of integrated care in their countries.
Across Europe, when people talk about “integration” they may refer to structural reorganisation and improved governance; for instance, having a single accountable agency responsible for commissioning services. Others mean improving cooperation between professionals from different sectors working with the same client. There are yet more who refer to integrating various strands of finance by pooling budgets or creating specific integrated funds to support specific groups with complex needs. They are all important and in some form or another they are all integration, but do they improve people’s outcomes? Read the full story »
It’s time to take action, or it could be you…
Considering that prostate cancer is effecting one in nine men, there are chances that 51 MPs, 67 members of House of Lords and 52 MEPs already have or will develop the commonest cancer of men if policy makers don’t take immediate action. Prof. Jonathan Waxman, Professor of Oncology, Imperial College London gives a complete lowdown on the deadly disease and discusses what needs to be done from a policy perspective
The Government Gazette is distributed through the United Kingdom Houses of Parliament, and the European Parliament. There are 459 male MP’s, 609 male Lords and Bishops, and 473 male MEP’s. Prostate cancer is now the commonest cancer in men, effecting one in nine men. So, the chances are that 51 MP’s and 67 members of the House of Lords, and 52 MEP’s have or will develop prostate cancer. So it could indeed be you, and you of course do have a vested interest in understanding prostate cancer and encouraging advances in research and treatment into this very common disease at a UK national and European level. Read the full story »
Improving patient safety and embracing technology
Canvassing for innovative mobile solutions in disease management and improving patient safety, MEP Piernicola Pedicini, Member of EP’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety explores measures that could potentially boost the uptake of eHealth and provides an overview of European healthcare priorities
Would you ever want to find that you had a terminal prostate cancer through a smartphone application? Most certainly not. Technology will never replace doctors, but they must embrace it. In fact, telemedicine integrated with healthcare at home would contribute towards the rationalisation of costs and increase the humanisation of care. A patient-centred approach is essential in health treatments, however, unfortunately, sometimes such an approach is not given the right priority. It is essential to promote the humanisation of treatments, for instance, providing home-care medical treatments, which can help patients psychologically and result in better healthcare performance. Read the full story »
Do immigrants really think differently?
While immigrants to the European Union may show different psychological characteristics compared to the mainstream majority population, Dr Alex Mesoudi, Associate Professor in Cultural Evolution, University of Exeter, UK says “these differences substantially reduce in just a single generation, allaying fears that immigrants will inevitably fail to integrate.” Read on to find out why
International migration is increasing. The Mediterranean migrant crisis saw over 430,000 migrants arrive in Europe by sea between January and August 2015, already double the number of migrants who crossed the Mediterranean in all of 2014 . Beyond this crisis, many EU member states are receiving the largest numbers of long-term international immigrants in decades. 636,000 people migrated to the UK in the year ending June 2015, up from 574,000 the previous year . Germany received 1,465,000 immigrants in 2014, up 19% on 2013 . Read the full story »
Europe must take control of the migration crisis
Will 2016 be a better year for migrants? It will be, if we take urgent action to stop Europe from falling apart. Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Founder and President, Migration Policy Institute Europe, offers a five-point-cluster which when acted upon in an integrated manner will bring us back to normality
Twenty fifteen was a year in which both the European institutions and EU member states proved decidedly unequal to two of the biggest tests Europe faced — the border and migration crisis, and the asylum crisis. That failure has set the stage for a massive challenge that must be addressed in 2016. If not, the damage to the very idea of Europe will be difficult to contain, let alone repair. Here is a roadmap that holds the key to a better 2016 for Europe. It requires coordinated action on five policy clusters if the policy whole is to be much larger than the sum of its parts. There is evidence that Europe, pushed by Germany and probably without the consensus that it craves, is moving toward the goals outlined below. Read the full story »
‘No forced migrant left behind’
The mounting migration crisis in Europe cannot be resolved by short-term solutions. To tackle this urgent humanitarian priority, we need a four-pronged approach with an emphasis on resilience building and sustainable development. Magdy Martinez-Soliman, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations and Assistant Administrator, UNDP presents solutions that address the root causes of the problem
The images of lifeless three-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, who drowned tragically with eleven others while attempting the sea crossing from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos, have become the symbol of today’s human tragedy: a mix of war, despair, flight, death and a call on the rich world’s conscience. We watch as Syrian refugees trail across our TV screens, walking miles in the wintry cold through Eastern European countries to reach Germany. We read about the large numbers of minors from Central America trying to make it to the United States to live a better life with their parents. And we read – a lot lesser – about the ethnic Royingya people, who leave Myanmar to seek safe haven in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Migration is today a combined humanitarian and a development priority. Read the full story »
Zero carbon, zero poverty
Climate change impacts working people first. Leading the worker’s fight on climate change, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation talks about why we should act now to secure a stable climate with development and inclusive growth
The year 2015 marked a turning point in global ambitions. The UN Sustainable Development Goals were born from the recognition that a model of development relying on the trickle down theory of benefit from corporate growth had not only failed but also set the world on a course of greater inequality, historic unemployment, escalating conflict and mass migration. And the Paris agreement on climate was born of necessity to end our dependency on fossil fuels if we are to mitigate the social and economic ravishes of climate change. Read the full story »
Climate change and migration – reflections from the Paris summit
Though it is important that migration was mentioned at the Paris Summit, Dr Giovanni Bettini, Lecturer in Global Climate Politics and International Development says relying on the UN’s climate policy to solve migration means “hoping for a silver bullet that does not exist”
The question of how climate change will influence human migration has become a source of growing concern – not surprisingly, considering the centrality that global warming has gained in international politics and the frequency with which mobility is in the spotlight (most often a negative light) of media and policy debates. Indeed, even the best-case scenario following the new climate agreement (signed last December in Paris) will still lead to rising sea levels, harsher droughts and more destructive storms – all of which will hit those with least protection the hardest, and add to existing factors of political instability. So, is the current “refugee crisis” only an anticipation of what will happen when climate change kicks in? Are we going to see waves of “climate refugees” pushing on Europe’s gates and jeopardise our security? Read the full story »
Why climate financing matters to real people
Although most of the focus at COP21 was on the emission reductions required to achieve the global targets, the real issue on the table was climate finance. Erik Solheim, Chair, OECD Development Assistance Committee discusses why equitable financing has been at the forefront of all international climate negotiations
Imagine your country being hit by a hurricane, and the damages are so big that your government has to spend every dollar on repairing the damages the next two years. No money is left for schools, hospitals or roads. This has already happened to the small island state Grenada in the Caribbean. Perhaps, this could happen to other poor countries the next years. While rich countries are mainly responsible for the climate changes, the poorest countries and the small developing island states are those who will suffer the most from the changes. Read the full story »
The Paris Accord: From agreement to implementation
The COP21 has brought us the much-needed global commitment to tackle climate change. It’s now time to deliver on these commitments. Gabriela Ramos, Special Counsellor to the Secretary General, Chief of Staff and Sherpa, OECD, discusses everything from agreement to implementation
The Paris Agreement at COP21 marks a decisive turning point in our response to climate change. Under the guidance of its President, Minister Fabius, the COP21 upheld a transparent and inclusive process for all Parties, resulting in 195 countries agreeing to strive for an ambitious temperature goal “well below” 2°C, with efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C. Read the full story »
Is the UK Government living up to its Paris rhetoric?
The UK Government is committed to the Paris climate accord, yet last year’s General Election illustrates the difficulties that lie ahead. Will UK deliver on climate change? Fabrice Leveque, Energy & Climate Specialist and Imke Lübbeke, Head of Unit, Climate & Energy, WWF European Policy Office analyse the energy-efficiency improvements undertaken by the UK Government so far and discuss how it has been moving in “the opposite direction.”
The outcome of the UN climate summit in Paris last December surprised many by the ambition of the agreed long term goal: moving global ambition to limiting climate change to ‘well below’ two degrees of warming and keeping in sight the target of 1.5 degrees. However, with no enforceable mechanism to hold countries to account over their emission reduction pledges, the success of the agreement will depend on Governments around the world turning lofty rhetoric into action. Read the full story »
Europe, living on the edge
The unprecedented influx of migrants, fear of terrorist attacks and increasing number victims of human trafficking have widened the scope of organisations created to advance policy and practice in prevention and control of crime. In an exclusive interview with Janani Krishnaswamy, Commissioning Editor, Government Gazette, Dr Cindy J Smith, Director, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice discusses the organisation’s priorities in tackling these existential threats and implementing efficient policies to establish social peace and stability
Today, Europe is facing several threats and challenges ranging from transnational terrorism to human trafficking and the migrant crisis. Over the past year, an unprecedented number of migrants have made their way to Europe leading several countries to temporarily reintroduce border controls within the Schengen zone. Fears abound that terrorists could make the most of migration to slip into Europe. Fears of attacks in Europe have grown ever since Islamic militants carried out a spate of massacres in Paris in November last year. Read the full story »
Post-COP21 … Will we stop our climate from changing?
The Paris deal signals progress on a number of fronts, but perhaps, the most significant one is the signal that it sends to investors. MEP Miriam Dalli, Member of EP’s COP21 delegation discusses the urgent priorities of the climate change agreement and says we have to reach a new level of partnership among heads of states, undertake more research to develop newer sources of clean energy and introduce climate change as a topic in primary schools
The United Nations agreement on climate change can truly be considered a historic turning point as it embeds climate action in the heart of the political agreement. More than ever before, this ambitious Paris deal is a clear and much-needed sign that there is still hope and that a better greener world is still an attainable goal. Among progressive European leaders, there was a pronounced sense of urgency and a strong need for a global deal. It is to the merit of such leaders that we are filled with confidence that the escalating climate crisis can be tackled. If nothing else, we owe this to our children and grandchildren so that they may inherit a liveable planet with a cleaner future. Read the full story »
Can national governments keep up with the change in the world?
Anna Leidreiter, Policy Officer, Climate and Energy, World Future Council shares positive stories of how to mitigate climate change and boost socio-economic development
The UN Climate Conference in Paris was a test to see whether national politicians could keep up with the change we are seeing in the real world. While nations brokered the climate deal, mayors from around the world have already shown in recent years what’s working in the fight against climate change. In fact, especially the growing global movement for 100% renewable energy (RE) proves that climate action is not only a moral obligation but socially and economically the most beneficial path.
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Europe will continue to lead the global clean energy revolution
The European Union has played a key role in brokering the historic agreement in Paris, where 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. In an exclusive interview with Government Gazette, Jos Delbeke, Director-General, European Commission’s Directorate for Climate Action & Energy explains the Commission’s priorities in the new agreement
Following limited participation in the Kyoto Protocol and the lack of agreement in Copenhagen in 2009, the EU has been building a broad coalition of developed and developing countries in favour of high ambition that shaped the successful outcome of the Paris conference. One of the aims of the agreement is to make financial flows consistent with the global goal towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development. Read the full story »
Amplifying the voice of water in COP21 climate talks
Hydro-climate disasters account for nearly 95% of all people affected by disasters, and have caused over 60% of all damage incurred worldwide by such disasters. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, Stocholm International Water Institute (SIWI), says there are significant commercial opportunities both in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, especially when viewed through a water lens
Late last year, I travelled to Paris for COP-21, the climate change conference – where one of the world’s most inclusive agreements (195 countries) providing a framework for the global response to climate change, was signed.
My colleagues and I were in Paris to raise awareness among actors at all levels about the centrality of water to climate change adaptation and mitigation. An increase in global temperatures of 2 degrees or more will dramatically impact the hydrological cycle leading to the increased melt-off of glaciers, decreased permafrost, more intense rainfall, floods, droughts, and changing water quantity and quality. Read the full story »
Europe needs to promote a climate of zero tolerance
Labour exploitation is not an isolated phenomena. Despite its pervasivness, it has received little attention from researchers. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has recently investigated labour exploitation, from the perspective of experts in the field and examined areas of law that to date have not been utilised sufficiently. Michael O’Flaherty, Director, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) explains why Europe has to promote a climate of zero tolerance towards labour exploitation
As the drownings in the Mediterranean continue and new walls – both physical and metaphorical – go up around Europe for the first time since the end of the Cold War, migration is a word set to remain on everybody’s lips in 2016. But migration is far broader an issue than one of border control. In order to meet the challenges we are facing in the EU, we need a more holistic approach to human rights protection that accompanies migrants from arrival through to their full participation in democratic society. Read the full story »
Time to take the gender dimension more seriously
Women and girls are inherently more vulnerable to trafficking because they are disproportionally affected by some factors which make them easy prey to traffickers. Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder sheds light on current perspectives on the gender dimensions of human trafficking and says why the European Commission must take it more seriously
To coincide with the European Commission’s assessment of the implementation of the 2011 Anti-Trafficking Directive, I am writing a report which will suggest that the EU must identify gender as one of the main causes of human trafficking and offer solutions to deal with the problem. According to the Eurostat report produced this year, 80% of registered victims of human trafficking between 2010 and 2012 were female. Although this horrible crime affects women, men, girls and boys, the statistics show that the gender dimension of human trafficking is clear and undeniable. Read the full story »
Europe needs a forceful response and a victim-centred approach
Human trafficking is a complex crime that is constantly evolving, with traffickers adopting newer methods and routes. Strasbourg Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi discusses the current state of human trafficking in Europe, evaluates the tools used to tackle the crime and calls for a strong stance to eradicate the hideous crime
There is no doubt that trafficking in human beings is a modern form of slavery that ruthlessly exploits the most vulnerable members of society by tricking or forcing victims into prostitution, forced labour or other forms of exploitation.
Trafficking in human beings is a widespread crime and a global phenomenon. It is a severe violation of fundamental human rights and a serious form of organised crime that affects women, men, girls and boys generating billions of euros in profits for traffickers. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that human trafficking brings the biggest source of illicit earnings after drug-related crimes. Read the full story »
Will Europe seize the opportunity of the circular economy?
A Circular economy could increase european competitiveness and deliver better societal outcomes. It could result in twice the benifits seen on the current development path. By adopting the principles of a circular economy, Europe can take advantage of the technology revolution, could create more jobs, increase average disposable incomes, halve carbon emissions, and do much more. Jocelyn Blériot, Executive Officer, Lead, Communications and Policy, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, presents the findings of their nine-month study and explains how the circular thinking might persuade companies to seek ways of retaining the value of their production costs
The European Commission’s much anticipated circular economy package is due at the end of the year, and the European Parliament continues to push for ambitious legislation on the topic. As discussions bring together advocates for a regenerative European growth and competitiveness, converging signals seem to indicate that a transition to a circular economy could be the next major political project for Europe. Read the full story »
SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT: Why does it matter and what can we do?
The growth of urban population combined with widespread use of cars has led to increasing congestion and a rising level of air pollution and transportation collisions. Member of European Parliament and former Transport Minister for Finland Merja Kyllonen discusses why europe’s transport policy needs some bold and ambitious steps to attain sustainability
As a former minister for transport in Finland, I am in love with transport. Yes, transport. The infrastructure that makes our societies and cities run smoothly. The backbone of integrity and competitiveness in Europe. I love the nitty-gritty of transport regulation, but even more I love the opportunities transport offers: access to education, participation in society, social interaction, imports and exports. Transport is in my opinion a crucial lubricant for the employment and value creation of economy. It is also one of the most important services for European citizens.Therefore the transport policy implemented in EU, national, regional and local level really makes the difference. Read the full story »
Towards a sustainable culture for urban mobility
Development of sustainable urban transport requires a conceptual leap. Keith Taylor, Member of European Parliament Highlights actions that can change current mobility patterns towards sustainability.
It is indeed a watershed year for our path to a more sustainable future. The Sustainable Development Goals, a universal set of goals relating to international development, were adopted on 25 September at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York, with global leaders finally putting environmental sustainability and climate action at the core of the new agenda. Read the full story »
Why should Europe embrace multimodality?
Rising greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures highlight the imminence of developing a sustainable culture towards mobility. Yet, which road should we take to initiate such a culture in a society that is predominantly urban? In an exclusive interview with Janani Krishnaswamy, Commissioning Editor of Government Gazette, Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, shares her vision for a sustainable transport network and explains how multimodality can be an compelling approach towards a resource-efficient transport system
© European Parliament/Violeta Bulc
Transport systems worldwide are facing innumerous challenges. Urbanisation, globalisation and climate change are three such challenges which have a profound impact on infrastructure and transport. Expanding highways, rising demand for road space and limited parking availability have become major challenges for the passer-by, the passenger or the commercial driver in urban jungles.
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The European Union – A development superpower
European Union countries and the EU as an institution contribute to more than half of global development assistance. Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and former Norwegian Minister of Environment & International Development takes a frank and honest look at the success stories of European leadership in development cooperation and environmental protection
Europe is by far the biggest development aid provider in the world. But this is a big secret to many people. Most of the developing country presidents and ministers I meet believe that the United States or China provides most development aid. China and the US have often better access and gain more political capital in developing countries even though Europe is the biggest aid provider, trading partner and foreign direct investor.
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Paving the way for the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda
As an author of European Parliament’s report on eu’s position on development aid, Pedro Silva Pereira, European Parliament’s Rapporteur on Financing for Development makes a checklist of some of the new policy deliverables and some disappointing facts in the agenda featured at the financing conference
The Addis Ababa Conference on Financing for Development (13-16 July 2015) was the kick off to a critical year for sustainable development, leading up to the adoption of the post-2015 agenda in September and of a new climate change agreement in December. The conference’s outcome document – known as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) and representing the world’s plan to support implementation of the development agenda after 2015 – is not everything we wished for, but it still sets a positive framework for the global change we need towards a fairer and more sustainable future.
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Post-2015 development agenda: Opportunities for action on climate change
To safeguard development gains made under the MDGs, action on adaptation is needed and mitigation is essential if we want to remain at 1.5 degrees of warming. Magdy Martinez-Soliman, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, presents the main lines of actions
The work undertaken over the last fifteen years by the global community to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Kyoto Protocol and the Rio Conventions, the Hyogo Framework for Action on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and other international accords on climate has established the basic equation according to which integrating climate action in development planning can deliver resilient results for sustainable development. Hence the “Sustainable Development Goals” as the engine of the Post-2015 Agenda. Read the full story »
New development goals lack the required resources
Public-private financing partnerships was the buzzword at the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa. Will public sector money be sufficient to transform development? Heidi Hautala, European Parliament’s Greens/EFA group shadow rapporteur on financing for development discusses the outcome rhetoric on private sector money
Year 2015 is crucial not only for tackling climate change, but also for sustainable development. Progress has been made in reducing poverty, getting children to school and providing access to clean water, but much more needs to be done in supporting developing countries. To achieve that, the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) will be officially approved at the UN General Assembly in September. The goals themselves are an improvement compared to the present Millenium Development Goals. However, there is a huge gap between goals and concrete actions.
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A blueprint for climate policy
Water is crucial for human sustenance, health and dignity; as a driver for business; for food and energy security; and for the broader ecosystem. Karin Lexen, Director of World Water Week, International Processes and Prizes, Stockholm International Water Institute addresses the role of water for development within the thematic scope of this year’s World Water Week in Stockholm
This year, a number of high-level decisions on sustainable development will be made – decisions that will steer our future. The anticipated climate agreement of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December is one such milestone.
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Europe has breast cancer units – so why not PCa units?
The time has come to consider this problematic issue and promote establishment of PCUs in Europe, says Dr. Riccardo Valdagni, Coordinator of the European School of Oncology’s Prostate Cancer Programme and Director of the Radiotherapy
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men, with 417,000 new cases every year in Europe. There is a critical need throughout Europe to provide prostate cancer patients with high quality, standardized and integrated care. This need is currently not being adequately addressed. That is why the European School of Oncology (ESO) – the international organization dedicated to improving the skills of all health professionals supporting cancer patients – has developed and promoted the concept of Prostate Cancer Units (PCUs). Their central principle is specialist, multi-professional care. Read the full story »
The Insider’s view of Swiss e-voting
Voting via the internet is a key element in Switzerland’s e-government strategy. The authorities have decided to proceed with this project with caution. Corina Casanova, Federal Chancellor of Switzerland says the introduction of e-voting is taking place step by step, and the watchword is “security before speed”
Switzerland is the home of direct democracy. Citizens have extensive rights to have their say at all three levels of the state: the Confederation, the cantons and the communes. Not only can they elect their representatives to parliament, but they also vote regularly on specific issues. Another characteristic of Swiss democracy is that the means of participating are constantly changing and developing. Since 1994, all those eligible to vote in national elections and other votes have been able to do so by post. Postal voting has proved extremely popular and is now by far the most common method used.
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Squaring the circle between growth & sustainability
What do we need to know to trigger the shift from a linear to a circular economy? Karl Falkenberg, Director-General of European Commission’s DG Environment debates whether a full systemic change is required, including a radical way in the way we consume and produce.
A few days ago the outcome document of the post 2015 agenda “Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development” was adopted and will formally be endorsed by Heads of State at the Summit later this month. With this there is an agreement establishing a universal agenda for sustainable development calling on the world to move towards sustainable consumption and production patterns and efficient use of natural resources, halving per capita global food waste, sound management of chemicals and wastes, substantially reducing waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse, more sustainable practices at the level of businesses, building people’s awareness of sustainable development and lifestyles.
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Reduce, Re-use, Recycle: Enabling sustainable patterns of production and consumption
Implementing innovative measures to “decouple” natural resource use from economic growth is paramount, and one way to do so is adopting the circular economy model. Dr Ligia Noronha, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics calls for a shift from a ‘take, make, dispose’ approach
The 20th century saw huge increases in demand for natural resources as industrialization and urbanization spread around the world. While current patterns of resource exploitation already exceed the Earth’s biological capacity, it is expected that, by 2050, humanity could consume approximately 140 million tonnes of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass each year – three times the current level— thus risking to jeopardize the fundamental economic, social and environmental systems on which our livelihoods and development rely.
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Human Trafficking: Modern Trends of the Slavery Enterprise and the Missing Links
Human trafficking, one of the world’s most shameful ills has found its well-deserved place in United Nation’s post-2015 development agenda. Emily Daglish, Head of Content at International Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Head of Policy at Human Security Centre argues that there is an urgent need to re-evaluate current infrastructure designed to tackle the slavery enterprise, both in terms of preventative, proactive and retrospective policy
Media and political rhetoric in recent months have focussed on the arrival of thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing conflict and oppression to Europe. Mismanagement has diverted attention from the reality that human trafficking has exploited the vulnerable and critically contributed to the consequential humanitarian crises by facilitating life threatening transit. There is an urgent need to re-evaluate current infrastructure designed to tackle human trafficking, both in terms of preventative, proactive and retrospective policy.
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Latin America offers Europe lessons in regional integration
Europe is currently living a process of change. In Europe’s periphery, a growing number of people are challenging the aggressive neoliberal policies imposed on the working class by Europe’s institutions, which are perceived as undemocratic by a growing number of people. Marina Albiol Guzmán MEP, Vice-Chair of EuroLat argues that the EU must learn from Latin America’s strong popular movements and democratic regional integration
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INTERVIEW: Roberto Calzadilla, Bolivian Ambassador to the UK
In the 16th century, half the silver produced in the New World came from Potosí in Bolivia, then one of the largest and wealthiest cities on Earth. Today, following years of dictatorships and aggressive foreign interventionist policies, Bolivia is one of the most poverty-stricken nations in South America in spite of its abundant natural resources. In this interview with Olivia Arigho Stiles, Ambassador Calzadilla discusses Bolivia’s commitment to the planet, its relations with the global north and why Bolivian cuisine will be the next culinary craze.
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Is Europe still the world leader in the fight against climate change?
Europe defines itself as the world leader in the fight against climate change. This is true in many ways. The bloc’s commitment towards the upcoming global deal on climate action, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels, is among the most ambitious in the world. Pascal Canfin at the World Resources Institute (WRI) argues that Europe risks being left behind on the global stage if its Member States fail to invest in low-carbon economies.
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British politics is breaking open – the system is ripe for reform
Katie Ghose of the Electoral Reform Society argues the case for proportional representation in UK General Elections.
At the time of writing, no one knows what the outcome of the UK General Election will be. But we do know one thing for certain – it’s going to be incredibly unfair. Britain’s First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system – where one candidate per constituency wins if they get more votes than the rest (while all other votes are ‘wasted’) – has long been the least proportional, and arguably the most undemocratic, way of electing our representatives. But in recent years the situation has gone from bad to worse.
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INTERVIEW: Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party
As the UK’s General Election 2015 race gets under way, Olivia Arigho Stiles speaks to Amelia Womack, the Deputy Leader of the Green Party about the party’s election priorities, mobilising young people and the sea change in European politics.
Few parties in Britain have recently experienced a spike in membership as remarkably rapid as the Greens. The so-called ‘Green Surge’ has seen the party move from the periphery to the near-centre of UK politics, with party membership now exceeding 60,000 and surpassing that of both the Liberal Democrats and Ukip. Alongside the SNP and Ukip, the Greens have been at the helm of major shifts taking place in British politics.
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For recovery, Europe needs to support labour not trade
The March issue of the Government Gazette features a balanced and evidence-based overview of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, with opinion and analysis from both sides of the debate. Here, Jeronim Capaldo from Tufts University reveals that TTIP, if successfully concluded, would result in job losses, wage decline and fiscal instability for Europe.
In the coming weeks and months Europeans are likely to hear a great deal about the benefits of trading with the US. The EU and the US have just resumed negotiations of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP), an agreement that would further liberalize trade between the two Unions. In fact, EU-US trade is already quite free from tariffs but TTIP aims at reducing or eliminating residual barriers, mostly related to differences in regulations, in order to facilitate exchanges even more. To those who expect trade liberalisation to always bring economic opportunities and jobs this seems like a good idea, while those concerned about the distribution of the costs to different social groups remain scpetical. Read the full story »
All Quiet on the Eastern Front?
As part of the Government Gazette’s extended feature on the 2015 Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Artis Pabriks MEP analyses the impact of tensions between Russia and the EU in the wake of the escalating conflict in Ukraine.
Amongst other things, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is a maturity test for Latvia. It is the first time since the accession of Latvia to the EU in 2004 that the country has held the Presidency. To Latvian authorities and its wider public, the EU Presidency is seen as an opportunity to integrate national and regional interests into the EU agenda as well as to end the informal perception of Latvia as a ‘new Member State’.
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Sustainable development targets need firm spending commitments
As part of Government Gazette’s extended focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Linda McAvan MEP argues that Europe’s leaders must make firm spending commitments in order to tackle the challenges of poverty and climate change.
Will 2015 go down as the year global leaders took decisive action to secure a sustainable future for our planet? That is the crucial question as the UN steps up negotiations on replacement targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the General Assembly in September in New York. Draft documents propose new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), applicable to all countries. Then just two months later in Paris, global leaders will come together again to seek a deal on combating climate change.
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TTIP: A deal to bolster the power of non-elected bodies
The February-March issue of the Government Gazette features a balanced and evidence-based overview of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, with opinion and analysis from both sides of the debate. Here, Jean Lambert MEP (Green, London) argues that TTIP transfers regulatory power away from elected bodies into unaccountable corporate hands.
The proposed trade agreement currently under negotiation between the EU and the US is proving highly controversial. We have seen the Commission forced to respond to public concern by increasing transparency and holding a public consultation on the Investor-State-Dispute -Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. So, what’s different about the trade deal getting increasing headline space at the moment – TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)?
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2015 Latvian Presidency – Will Latvia secure a détente with Russia?
As part of the Government Gazette’s extended feature on the 2015 Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka and Kinga Dudzińska analyse the significance of the Latvian Presidency for the EU’s relations with Russia.
Latvia has taken over the rotating presidency of the EU Council at a turbulent time, marked by intensified terrorist threats and disturbances to territorial integrity on the continent. The exacerbating Ukrainian conflict and aggressive Russian policy in the region pose a direct threat to the stability of the Eastern flank of the EU and will be a test for Latvia’s pragmatic approach towards Russia. In the current geopolitical circumstances, the aim of the Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, expressed at the beginning of the presidency, to overcome stereotypes and convince Moscow that the Latvian stance is “in no way anti-Russian” might be difficult to realise. Read the full story »
Greek elections: Syriza and the populist blame game
The February-March issue of the Government Gazette offers an extended focus on the implications of the 2015 Greek elections and the eurozone debt crisis. Here, Takis S. Pappas assesses Syriza’s populist rhetoric and analyses the possible political machinations behind a Grexit.
In last month’s snap election, the Greek voters brought to power the populist Coalition of the Radical Left (known by its acronym, Syriza), a party led by the 41-year old Alexis Tsipras. However, as Syriza was unable to muster a parliamentary majority on its own, it opted to form a coalition government with the rightist populist and ultra nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL), a party that was launched in February 2012 also on an anti-austerity platform. Read the full story »