From 4th to 6th of February I spend time in Brussels and took part in several meetings. It all started with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). That week the 8th negotiation round on this agreement took place in Brussels. On the 4th was the Stakeholder event with almost 400 Stakeholders registrated and around 80 of them were able to present opinions, concerns and questions regarding TTIP to the negotiators.
This took place in four different session and I was lucky enough to present on behalf of EMSA to both the EU and the US Negotiator Leads for Service. Knowing that other medical students representatives, Alberto Abreu da Silva (IFMSA RC Europe), Prerna Chaudhary (Project Coordinator BeMSA) and Christian Koop (National Officer on Public Health bvmd-Germany), will participate as well, we talked before the event to not present unnecessary doublings.
As known from several publications of the European Commission and letters to different stakeholders it was luckily clear that EU member states will keep regulatory freedom when it comes to publicly financed healthcare. Therefore I raised the question what will happen to privately funded healthcare and showed that there is a close link between these two areas in healthcare. On a second point I looked into future what could happen with a mutual recognition of professional qualifications for e.g. doctors and just raised a few concerns, that this is not necessarily a bad point. You can view my presentation here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5fSlyIPje8rTWZvdlBZdWs1OWc&authuser=0
My presentation was highly valued by the Negotiators Leads and I received a lot of questions afterwards and got into dialogue with them after the presentation round.
In the afternoon the Chief Negotiators, Ignacio Garcia Bercero for the EU and Dan Mullaney for the US updated us on the state of play. Once again they stated that the negotiation will not touch the high standards both side of the Atlantic already have in healthcare. They do not want a deliberalisation of public services, nor a lowering of level of protection in public health. What they seek for indeed is a harmonization of market access for pharmaceutical products and medical devices. They also want to lower duplications of controls by relying on the others side inspections. These are examples of the often discusses Non-Tariff-Barriers.
On Thursday the 5th of February the 2nd Annual EU-US Trade Conference took place, touching the same topic. Anyway it was interesting to hear the keynote speeches of Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, Anthony L. Gardner, US Ambassador to the EU and Bernd Lange, MEP and Chair of the EP Committee on International Trade. Besides that, I had interesting discussions with other stakeholders and political decision-makers.
EMSA will keep working on trade Agreements touching health care services like TTIP and TISA to make sure that your voice is heard and of course we will update you as we take further steps!
On the same day was a working meeting with other health professional representatives on Patient Empowerment facilitated by the European Patients Forum.
I took part on behalf of EMSA and we had very fruitful discussions. I am very much looking forward to the outcomes of this initiative. Besides this I had the chance to talk with the Secretary General of the European Patients Forum, Nicola Bedlington, about further collaboration.
Friday the 6th then I spend time in the CPME Office talking with their Policy Advisors on different topics and going through EMSA Archives.