This Opinion welcomes the Commission's ambition to reduce the incidence of cancer, and its specific efforts to minimise exposure to asbestos at work. It recommends that the technical limit value for asbestos exposure under the Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work should ultimately be set at a lower level than the Commission is currently proposing. This Opinion also suggests that roadmap of complementary measures over and above the Commission's proposals should be drawn up in order to achieve that objective. It calls on the EU and its Member States to actively promote an international ban on the use of asbestos and protection for workers dealing with existing asbestos during activities such as renovation, demolition and waste management.
Europe's beating cancer plan - Related Opinions
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Rare diseases are often chronic and sometimes disabling diseases affecting an estimated 25/30 million European citizens. Even more people are affected as care taker or family. Patients and relatives face difficulties in access to diagnosis, treatment or care and in their inclusion to society and labour market. In this opinion, the EESC presents its recommendations on how to improve social protection for these patients and raise awareness on their situation and needs.
In this opinion, the EESC presents its view on the Commission's proposal establishing the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority. (HERA), whose mission is to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to transnational health emergencies. The EESC welcomes this initiative but is concerned by the very limited role given by HERA to the European Parliament, regional authorities, health insurance bodies and civil society organisations and recommends their stronger involvement by adapting HERA structure and ensuring greater transparency with regard to the funds allocated and spent by and through HERA.
This opinion comments on the new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work for the period 2021-2027. The framework sets out the key actions needed to improve workers' health and safety over the coming years and focuses on three objectives: managing change brought by green, digital and demographic transitions as well as changes to the traditional work environment, improving prevention of accidents and illnesses, and increasing preparedness for any potential future crises. The EESC broadly agrees with the vision set out in the strategic framework but proposes also additional measures and initiatives to be integrated in the strategy.
The opinion, presenting EESC's position on the four proposals of the Health package published by the European Commission in November 2020, supports and welcomes these initiatives but draws the attention on some elements.
- The EU and Member States should ensure that everyone has equal access to quality, well staffed, well equipped health and social services. This is particularly important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which has deepened existing inequalities.
- Special attention in future EU policies should be given to healthcare workers and the need to improve working conditions, including pay, recruitment and retention, as well as their health and safety.
- The new EU health package should be combined with the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), particularly its principles 12, 16, 17 and 18 and the Action Plan on the EPSR. It should also be part of achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.
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