Europe Day 2019 – Creating a protective, competitive, fair, sustainable and influential Europe!

Europe Day 2019 – Creating a protective, competitive, fair, sustainable and influential Europe!

Posted on May 8, 2019

European citizens often feel that the work of the EU and its Institutions is far from their reality and needs, namely because the world we are living in is fast-paced and changing daily. Politicians in Brussels seem to have started to grasp the complexity of this reality, and the European Commission is encouraging the EU Member States to advocate for a European Union that is goal-driven and focused only on a few concrete areas of action.

Preceding the EU27 leaders meeting in Sibiu, Romania, on 9 May 2019 – Day of Europe -, where they will reflect on the Union’s political aspirations and prepare the ‘strategic agenda’ for the next five years (2019-2024), the European Commission has published a report titled “Preparing for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union in an increasingly uncertain world”, setting a series of policy recommendations for the future of Europe, in 5 areas for future action:

  1. Protective Europe – building an effective and genuine European Security Union and move towards a genuine European Defence Union;
  2. Competitive Europe – upgrading, modernising and fully implementing the single market;
  3. Fair Europe – delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights;
  4. Sustainable Europe – modernising Europe’s economy to embrace sustainable consumption and production; and,
  5. Influential Europe – strengthening Europe’s influence in the world.

Health and social care is high on the EU citizens’ agenda and as such should be reflected on the EU political agenda. Health in All Policies is key to deliver on the European Social Pillar, with the European citizens, with 3 million nurses being the largest group of the healthcare professions, should co-designers these policies to make them “fit-for-purpose”.

One of the reasons many European citizens are dissatisfied with the EU is because of the significant impact that the economic crisis has had in the health and social care sectors. And nursing has been one of the most heavily affected by the ongoing post-crisis reforms in the healthcare sector, with working conditions substantially worsening due to cuts in salaries and jobs, and  increasing shortfall estimated to raise to a shortage of 1.1 million nurses by 2030 in the OECD countries (WHO 2016).

Therefore, if EU leaders make strategic plans for the years ahead without facing the challenges already posed by the health and social care sectors, including the nursing profession, they will not succeed and EU citizens will be more disappointed. Nurses’ views need to be considered for creating a protective, competitive, fair, sustainable and influential Europe.