The Council of Ministers of the European Union (EU) has acknowledged that cardiovascular disease in Europe is 'the largest cause of death of men and women in the European Union' and 'unhealthy lifestyles, particularly tobacco consumption, as well as unhealthy diet and physical inactivity amongst European citizens are risk factors to be addressed in the development of national and European policy'.
Professor John Martin, Chairperson of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Committee for European Union Relations states, "This is a great step forward for European healthcare. Cardiovascular disease kills more people in the EU than any other disease and national governments and the medical profession have been working together to bring about an advance."
Professor Martin continues, "The Council of Ministers of the EU is to be congratulated on its vision of how to prevent heart disease, advance treatment and encourage research. The ESC is looking forward to working further with the EU, together with our national society partners, to put into action these important messages for citizens, doctors and researchers."
This declaration by the Council of Ministers of the EU is a direct consequence of the recent initiatives on cardiovascular health staged by the Irish Department of Health and Children and the ESC involvement in these, including 'Promoting Heart Health – A European Consensus', February 2004, and the meeting on Cardiology Audit and Registration Data Standards (CARDS), May 2004.
Highlighting the importance of this working partnership, Professor Martin states, "The relationship between the ESC and the Irish Department of Health and Children during the Irish Presidency of the EU may act as a model for other medical societies in Europe to identify similar problems and advise governments accordingly."