Cypriot Commissioner pledges to make Europe a healthier place

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Cypriot EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides vowed to touch the lives of all EU citizens as the issues covered in her remit are every-day concerns from fighting cancer to what we eat.

In her first trip to Cyprus as an EU Commissioner, Kyriakides attended a citizens’ dialogue in Nicosia.

“This portfolio touches upon the every-day lives of all EU citizens, as it concerns issues of health and food safety, which, I believe, concern us all on almost a daily basis…for me it is a huge bet to touch through our portfolio, all EU citizens,” said Kyriakides.

She assured that during her term she will keep an open dialogue with citizens in a bid to know their concerns.

“In five years from now, I would like to look back in and say we at least delivered on our targets with which we began.”

Referring to the targets of the new Commission, Kyriakides said the overarching target is the creation of a European Strategy to combat cancer, the Europe Beating Cancer Plan, as announced by the Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen.

“This is a major target as it horizontally touches upon all issues from prevention, timely diagnosis and cure, patients’ rights, as well as issues of research and development.”

She said a public consultation will be initiated on February 4 in an event at the European Parliament, while the strategy is expected to be launched in the last quarter of 2020.

Kyriakides said this strategy covers issues of her portfolio such as access to medicine, as without access to medicine “we cannot talk about combating cancer”.

She also referred to the issue of a reluctance to get vaccinated, a big issue that concerns Europe, as well as antibiotic resistance, due antibiotic abuse not only in humans but also animals, infections become harder to treat.

Kyriakides said the new EU strategy on Green Growth affects a significant part of her portfolio, the strategy “From farm to fork” to be launched in April, will address every step of the food chain, from production and processing through marketing, as well as consumption and international trade.

“You cannot speak of human health if you don’t touch animal and plants health. We cannot talk about fighting cancer if we don’t know what food we have on our tables, we cannot talk about combating a disease if we don’t assure access to medicines.”