On 12, November, 2014, ECPM MEPs Bas Belder and Branislav Skripek organized a conference on palliative care in the European Parliament. ‘Palitive care: an international perspective’ was the title of the event which generated a keen interest and was widely attended. Speakers included MEP Miroslav Mikolasik, the Chairman of the EPP Working Group on Bio-Ethics and Human Dignity, Prof. Dr. Lukas Radbruch, the Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, Dr. Paul Lieverse, an anesthesiologist and pain specialist at Erasmus University Medical Center, Mr. Tugdual Derville, French expert on law, Leo Van Doesburg, the ECPM Director for European Affairs and Antoni Montserrat of the European Commission.
According to MEP Belder, the issue of palliative care receives an increasing attention in the European Union, not only in the medical world but also in politics. “This conference is designed to raise awareness and encourage people to consider all the implications of this subject”, he said.
“Human dignity, which is one of the core principles of the ECPM, is directly linked to palliative care. As it provides an opportunity for the terminally ill to lead a dignified life without pain, palliative care should be a right to all EU citizens” Leo Van Doesburg mentioned in his speech.
As MEP Mikolasik and Dr. Redbruch put it, euthanasia should not be seen as a part of palliative care or confused with it. According to them, palliative care is not the issue that falls in the competence of the EU, and national states and civil society should play a decisive role in making palliative care widely available.
Representing the European Commission, Antoni Montserrat admitted that this subject is not receiving enough attention in the Commission, however, funds have been allocated to projects and this is an increasing trend. "We are starting to use the concept of palliative care as a right that all people have" added Montserrat, ending his speech with a word of acknowledgment that this conference is highly important for providing useful information on the subject.
The ECPM, a network of Christian and Christian democratic parties across Europe, will closely follow up on this issue and will promote and encourage the implementation of the projects designed to make palliative care widely available.