ECO congratulates European Parliament on NCD report

14 December 2023 

On Wednesday 13 December, MEPs gathered in the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg adopted the Sub-Committee of Public Health Report on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with 578 votes in favour, 39 against and 15 abstentions. The Report calls for better prevention and early diagnosis of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and closer cooperation between national health authorities needed and now represents the consensus position of the full Parliament. 

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer are responsible for 80% of the disease burden (the largest share of EU member states’ healthcare expenditures with an estimated cost of EUR 115 billion or 0.8% of GDP annually), and cause 90% of all deaths in the EU countries. 

The new Report by the Parliament considers the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan as a building block for the EU's future ambitions in addressing the NCD challenge. In particular, MEPs made strong recommendations in the fields of:   

  • Disease prevention to address the rising incidence of NCDs at its source;  
  •  The role of primary care in improving early detection of NCDs; 
  •  Overcoming the challenges of access to care and the health workforce crisis; 
  •  Striving for a more global role for the EU in health. 

The European Cancer Organisation closely followed the legislative file and advised MEPs in particular to ensure that the following points were included in the adopted text: 

  • Calling for more policies that support the reduction of risk factors such as tobacco use, alcohol intake, unbalanced and unhealthy diet; 
  • Ensuring increased research, understanding and response to hereditary disease risk;  
  • Encouraging greater ambition in going beyond 'minimum requirements' in EU and Member State efforts and setting ambitious targets to meet EU air pollution targets and, in particular, to align with and exceed WHO guidelines;    
  • Recommending EU financial support for pan-European public health literacy initiatives, such as the proposal to create a European Atlas of Early Warning Signs for Cancer, based on the cancer prevention model created by the European Code Against Cancer;    
  • Recommending urgent action, including a Commission-wide study on the current state and impacts of the health workforce shortage in the EU and increased investment in availability measurement and mapping exercises at European level; 
  • Demanding an EU global health strategy that therefore includes goals such as supporting the WHO goal of eliminating cervical cancer worldwide 

Commenting on the new report, Riccardo Moschetti, ECO Policy Officer said: 

“It is promising to see the levels of support that exist right across the European Parliament for accelerated action on meeting the NCD challenge. Now there is work ahead to convert the Parliament’s recommendations into clear action, including tighter tobacco and alcohol control measures, and greater attention to matters such as hereditary cancer risk and health literacy about early warning signs of cancer. The recent publication of the Time to Accelerate: Together Against Cancer manifesto sets out in more precise form the kind of actions the EU can support member states with in these areas.” 

You can read our recommendations for a better and healthier Europe and endorse our Time To Accelerate Manifesto here: 

For further information about this topic, and to connect to ECO's work on the subject, please contact Riccardo Moschetti at