Finsk Veterinärtidskrift 4/2019

Your EU Parliament will be elected in May

Year 2019 will be a year of change within the EU, not only due to the situation created in the United Kingdom because the Brexit, but also as key EU institutions will elect new leadership. 

A new European Parliament will be elected in May. The Juncker Commission, after being in office for five years, will end their term in November.  Between 23 and 26 May, all adult citizens of the 500+ million people living in the EU, will be given the opportunity to select who will represent them in the European Parliament. 

New EU leaders mean new visions, directions and priorities. What do we, as veterinary profession, want these priorities to be? Before looking at our wishes for the future, let’s reflect on the past. 
A lot of important things happened on a European level in the last five years. It is important to realise that almost all national legislation on animal health, welfare and food safety is decided at a European level. By the time it comes to your country, only comma’s can still be changed. So European legislation has an impact on all veterinarians in the EU, even if you are a reindeer practitioner in a remote area of Finland. 

In the last years we had some scandals and disease outbreaks, such as the horse meat fraud and African Swine Fever. But we also had a lot of important successes for our profession: we managed to embed the One Health approach into EU legislation, we reduced antibiotic use in animals by 20 percent and we ensured a robust, vet-centric new legislation on the use of veterinary medicines. 
So what do we want for the future?

We call for policy makers that will continue to promote the One Health approach and that will continue to empower health professionals to preserve the efficacy of antimicrobials. We call for policy makers that will continue to promote high-quality veterinary education and research to allow our profession to maintain high standards and provide the best possible service and care. We call for policy makers to facilitate access to veterinary medicines registered in other EU countries and to support measures to keep it possible for veterinarians to work in rural areas. And last but not least, we call for policy makers to ensure that the veterinary profession has adequate legislation, enforcement and infrastructure to help us to do our job, namely to promote animal health, animal welfare, public health and the environment. 

Rafael Laguens
President of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe FVE