BECA Report approved by Committee, full text –

BECA Report approved by Committee, full text

Dic 21, 2021
Hello everyone and welcome to Askanews’ EU Verified series.

The European Parliament’s BECA Committee has been working on a report dedicated to looking at how to address the four pillars of prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and quality of life of cancer patients. It also serves as the Parliament’s official response to the Commission’s Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.

Askanews has been hosting a series of interviews to hear straight from the BECA Members during the process.

The Committee has just voted, and approved, its report. Before it heads to plenary for the final vote, we spoke to several MEPs that have been active in the Committee and contributed to the end product.

Stefania Zambelli  ID Member of BECA Committee

I particularly appreciate the references on controls and prevention for early diagnosis. The call for greater coordination for the treatment of different types of cancer, support for research through European financial support and attention to the patient in the post-cancer phase. I am happy with these references as a whole, however, there is no lack of problems. The biggest one concerns the connection between illness and nutrition, especially in reference to wine. In fact, no clear distinction is made between alcohol abuse and moderate wine consumption. This, together with the references to wine labeling and the increase in alcohol taxes, can truly represent a great danger for the entire Italian wine system which employs over 1.3 million people. Overall, I agree with the parts of the text that want to combat the disease. On the other hand, I do not agree with the sections against wine and against food.

Pietro Fiocchi ECR Shadow Rapporteur BECA Committee

Now, I’m extremely happy that we’re focusing especially on the free circulation of patients across all the member states. And this is extremely important, especially for rare cancer and pediatric cancer. I’m also very happy that Radon gas was included, which increases the incidence of lung cancer by 50 percent in several regions across Europe. On the other hand, there are some points that would still need to be improved. For example, there’s a strong focus on increasing taxes, some limitations on alcohol and tobacco use. And from my personal experience, this is a negative thing, and it could be even counter-productive, generating criminal and unlawful behaviors like illegal imports of tobacco and alcohol and even really bad behaviour especially among the younger population.

Aldo Patriciello EPP Substitute Member of BECA Committee

Strengthen prevention, enhance screening activities, improve the conditions of patients suffering from oncological diseases, find new treatments through research and innovation. These are the key points on which the Commission has worked and intends to continue its work.

Peter Liese EPP Shadow Rapporteur BECA Committee

It’s a very comprehensive report, and I’m very happy that I would say 90 percent of the priorities that I had and that my political group, EPP, had are reflected. The cooperation with the Rapporteur was very good and I’m very happy that we now have a very broad, cross-party position to fight cancer in Europe. It was an EPP initiative, but now all the main parties in the European Parliament support what is on the table. I’m very happy, especially that our priority to make life of those people easier that fight cancer cross-border, scientists that want to do cross-border research. This is very important because especially when it comes to rare cancer and cancer among children, you need many participants to have good research. Experts told me that even in a big country like Germany, you will need ten years to get enough patients for a clinical trial. So if we work together, we can do it much, much faster and bring the innovations to children, in this particular case, which is a very important concern for me, and I guess for everybody.

What is important now is that these recommendations are not only adopted by the European Parliament. Here I’m very optimistic, because we had broad cross-party support in the Committee, but also the European Commission and member states need to follow. And for me, it was of particular importance to be concrete. So not only to give very vague recommendations, which member states can also ignore, but to propose legislation that changes lives of scientists, that changes lives of patients.