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Potočnik outlines his health priorities to HEAL

HEAL had the pleasure of welcoming the EU Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik to give the closing speech of its Annual General Assembly on 26 September.

EU Commissioner Potočnik, who has recently been awarded the UN Champions of the Earth prize for his efforts to promote a greener EU economy, gave a brief but clear talk which reflected his strong commitment to addressing health challenges arising from environmental problems.

He spoke of his appreciation of HEAL and his recognition that public health concerns must be integrated into environmental policy.

Extracts from his speech:

’Our health depends on the environment, just as much as the health of the environment depends on us. This is why we cannot tackle environment-related challenges to health from a purely environmental or health perspective. Our approach needs to be more comprehensive, integrated and long-term.

For me integration is the only way forward, if we are serious about tackling present and emerging challenges. And this is especially true when it comes to health and environment issues.’

He outlined his objectives on both air quality and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and said that HEAL’s input to the public consultation on the forthcoming EDCs impact assessment was ’an absolute must’.

Afterwards, Commissioner Potočnik listened intently to individual members of the HEAL Executive Committee, who highlighted priorities on children’s health, mercury pollution, indoor air quality and electromagnetic fields.

From left to right: Yannick Vicare, Réseau Environnement Santé (RES), Roberta Savli, European Federation of Allergy & Airways Diseases Patients’ Association (EFA) and Irina Rodriguez de la Flor, Fundacion Vivo Sano

He then turned to the important task of cutting the HEAL 10th anniversary cake:

‘I understand that there is cake waiting for us. We have 10 years of good reasons and progress to celebrate today’.

Environment Commissioner cuts into a special birthday cake to celebrate 10 years of HEAL.

Commissioner Potočnik engaged with HEAL staff and members over lunch.

All HEAL Annual General Assembly 2013 photos available here

Photo copyright: HEAL/De Ribaucourt Photography

Last updated on 10 October 2013

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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