Calling for a comprehensive EU policy response to improve the cardiovascular health of European citizens

The European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health welcomes the EPP’s call for a ‘European Cardiovascular Health Plan’.

Brussels 14 March 2024: The European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH) welcomes the recent announcement by the European People’s Party to include a ‘European Cardiovascular Health Plan’ as a core component of their electoral manifesto.

This historic step answers the urgent need for comprehensive action to address Europe’s health crisis and tackle its leading cause of death – cardiovascular disease which costs the EU €282 bn every year. The long-term mission to achieve a healthier Europe was the reason why the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH) was created in 2021 as a coalition of patients, healthcare professionals, researchers, and health industry representatives.  

Vote Cardiovascular Health 2024

Dear Members of the European Parliament, the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH) invites you to mark your calendars for the “Vote Cardiovascular Health 2024” exhibition.

The exhibition will be hosted by MEP Elżbieta Łukacijewska (PL, EPP) and MEP Radka Maxová (CZ, S&D), both long-time supporters of cardiovascular health in the European Union.

It will take place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Swan Bar (Bar des cygnes) area, from December 11th to December 14th.

“Vote Cardiovascular Health 2024” is a unique initiative that zooms in on the critical issue of cardiovascular health, the leading cause of mortality in the EU and worldwide.

This event is tailored to inform and engage MEPs and their teams, providing essential insights into the true cost of cardiovascular disease and the significant number of EU citizens affected by it.

Dear Members of the European Parliament, your presence is essential to making this exhibition a resounding success. We encourage you to attend and address this urgent matter.

World Heart Day acts as a milestone to remind the EU of the huge inequalities in cardiovascular health and the need for strong political will to tackle them.

On World Heart Day, the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health reminds the EU that cardiovascular health can only be realised if coordinated policies are developed within and between countries in the EU. Cardiovascular health is the heart of the matter if we are to live longer and healthier lives.  

World Heart Day acts as a milestone to remind the EU of the huge inequalities in cardiovascular health and the need for strong political will to tackle them.

Over the past 30 years, deaths and disability from cardiovascular disease have steadily increased in Europe, and CVD remains the leading cause of death in Europe and the world. CVD impacts the lives of more than 60 million Europeans every day and costs the EU economy 210 billion EUR every year. As recently stated by the World Health Organisation, “although COVID is the most visible pandemic of our lifetime, it is neither the deadliest nor the most preventable. Cardiovascular disease has killed five times as many people. We have the public health tools to tackle it. The question is, can we muster the social and political will to use them?”

CVD is a vast group of disorders, all related to the heart and circulatory (vascular) system, including stroke. CVD is closely related to other chronic diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease, but also to vascular dementia, which is often caused by heart disease and strokes.

As evidenced by experts, there are striking differences between countries in the EU, not only in terms of the incidence of CVD, but also in terms of national prevention and treatment strategies. With the upcoming EU elections, there is an opportunity to position the cardiovascular health plan as a public health priority.

The time to act is now. There is a strong case for the EU to come forward with a European Cardiovascular Health Plan to promote and facilitate coordinated and appropriate actions, ranging from prevention and early detection to treatment and rehabilitation, to ensure a good and healthy quality of life, for all people across the Member States.

An EU Cardiovascular Health Plan will be the tool for an integrated response to ensure that European citizens live longer, healthier lives – regardless of where they were born or live in the EU. Such a plan would be a blueprint and potentially an inspiration and best practice for action inside and outside of the EU to promote cardiovascular health.

Ambitious incentives and actions have been set to support policymakers in EACH Vision for Europe, unveiled earlier this year.  EACH strives to shift focus from cardiovascular disease to cardiovascular health for all people, through primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention, including quality of life and psychological outcomes across the spectrum of cardiovascular health. Cross-cutting actions comprise: 1) a European Cardiovascular Health Data Knowledge Centre, 2) a European Cardiovascular Health Observatory, 2) national Cardiovascular Health plans, and 4) a progressive policy environment for digital transformation in Cardiovascular Health.

EACH welcomes the EU Roadmap on non-communicable diseases

EACH Welcomes the EU Healthier Together Roadmap to tackle non-communicable diseases, particularly with regard to promoting cardiovascular health in Europe. Read the EACH contribution to the launch consultation submitted to the European Commission DG Santé in April 2022.

EACH Plan for Cardiovascular Health Launched

The European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH) revealed its Cardiovascular Health (CVH) Plan for Europe during a high-level policy meeting on May 16, 2022.

The plan will reduce premature and preventable deaths in Europe and improve access to high-quality cardiovascular risk assessment and multidisciplinary care pathways for all, paving the way to a better quality of life.

To achieve this, the focus is on primary prevention at the population level, improvements in secondary prevention, equal access to high-quality, patient-centred healthcare, and an increase in rehabilitation. The EACH CVH plan will have a trickle-down effect with the creation of national CVH plans that are tailored to national contexts and needs.

The time to act is now. The evidence is clear – the unbearable burden of cardiovascular disease on patients, people, health systems, and society in Europe will only increase unless we do not channel enormous political will, leadership, expertise, and imagination and create a different landscape for cardiovascular health in Europe.

The event, supported by the MEP Heart Group, was attended by high-level EU decision-makers, including the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides.

The European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health stands in solidarity with Ukraine and calls for continuity of care and protection of the most vulnerable.

The European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health adds its voice to that of its partners in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We are deeply saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and call to the parties involved in the war for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and a peaceful resolution.

We are extremely concerned about the violence against health facilities and the disruption of access to vital care and life-saving medications. In this tragic and worrying context, we urge the protection of vital infrastructure, the support of health facilities with medicines and equipment, the protection of medical staff, and the support of civilians with vital needs in Ukraine as well as refugees fleeing the war.

The EACH calls for ensuring that humanitarian and medical aid can reach those who need it, regardless of their allegiance.

EACH is pleased to see that its partners are already providing aid and support through humanitarian organisations and National Civil Protection Authorities and directly to (cardiovascular) medical societies and patient organisations. We encourage further support for relief organisations and call on the international community at large to protect the most vulnerable and do whatever they can to avoid escalation of this tragic war.

EACH welcomes the EU Roadmap on NCDs initiative

The European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health welcomes the ambitious initiative of the European Commission to support Member States in the fight against the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, their causes and consequences, and to address health determinants more generally.

A future EU Action Plan on cardiovascular disease should include ambitious measures for the entire disease pathway (prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation, and quality of life) to keep European citizens in good health and optimise their quality of life, as well as reduce the socioeconomic burden of the disease.

EACH remains committed to contributing to the development and implementation of this EU Roadmap for NCDs to strengthen population and health system resilience by improving cardiovascular health, preventing first and subsequent cardiovascular events including heart attack, stroke or peripheral artery occlusion, optimising treatment and supporting a healthier and more productive European society.