3rd July EPHA and six other civil society organisations announce their resignation from the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. In a letter dated, July 2nd, the seven organisations described the Platform and the voluntary approach it embodies, as being ‘not fit for purpose’ and that their continued membership was not a productive use of resources
11th July 2019, European Commission, Berleymont Building, Brussels.
European NGOs meet Commissioner Vytensis Andriukaitis to explain our decision to leave the EU Platform for Action on Diet Physical Activity and Health and discuss the way forward. From the left: Marlene Kestens (European Heart Network (EHN) Martin Schmalzriel and Liz Gosme, (COFACE), Annabel Seebohm (The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), Susanne Logstrup (EHN), Commissioner Andriukaitis, Fiona Godfrey (European Public Health Association (EPHA) Michelle Mildener (EHN) Nikolai Pushkarev (EPHA) and Patti Rundall (IBFAN)
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NGOs EXIT EU DIET PLATFORM: Seven civil society groups will stop participating in the European Commission’s Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health because it is not fit for purpose and cannot “adequately contribute” to reversing the tide of obesity, they said in a statement today. The platform, founded in 2005, brings together the food industry, consumer organizations, public health NGOs and scientific and professional associations in an aim to improve health.
But the consumer group BEUC, the European Heart Network, the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), the World Obesity foundation, COFACE Families, the doctors’ lobby group CPME and the International Baby Food Action Network said taking part in the platform meetings was not worth their time as the Commission has decreased the resources, time and attention it gives to the platform.
The silent treatment: They also claim a request for a meeting with DG SANTE to discuss their grievances went unheeded, and they have thus decided to pull out.
COMMISSION, INDUSTRY RESPOND TO NGO WALKOUT: DG SANTE “regrets” the decision by seven NGOs to leave the EU Platform for Diet, Physical Activity and Health, Commission spokesperson Anca Păduraru said. Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis will invite them to meet in Brussels in the coming weeks, she said — possibly too late after the NGOs requested a meeting by the end of June (refresher).
“At the same time we would like to recall that the platform is currently undergoing an independent assessment (that started in April) to see if its commitments are ambitious enough and have the potential to impact the health of the EU citizens,” Păduraru said.
Industry lobby FoodDrink Europe said the NGOs should have waited for that evaluation. “Instead of walking away from the conversation, we invite the seven NGOs to engage in discussion with the broader stakeholder community to discuss the best way forward for the platform,” the organization said in an emailed statement.
Sounding the death knell? NGOs walked out of a similar Commission-organized group on alcohol policy in 2015. Despite efforts from Andriukaitis to mend ties and restart things, the group was not revived.