The Nordic Council challenges the EU to combat antibiotic resistance

22.04.15 | News
The European Parliament is in the process of preparing legislation on veterinary medicine and animal health. The Nordic Council believes that this is a window of opportunity for European action against antibiotic resistance.

The seminar One Health from a Nordic perspective was hosted by Christel Schaldemose, Member of the European Parliament, together with the Nordic Council 22. April 2015.

- We have a unique opportunity to combat this enormous threat to human and animal health. It is not acceptable that 25.000 people are killed annually in Europe due to antibiotic resistance. Urgent action is needed. We can save lives, said Christel Schaldemose.

The concept "One Health" recognises the relationship between disease and health in humans and animals, and the environment in which we are operating. The connection between human health and animal health is well documented. In many countries the use of antibiotics in the animal sector accounts for up to 80 % of the total consumption.

Better European legislation is urgently needed

- The European Parliament is instrumental in creating the right conditions for combating antibiotic resistance in our region. It can through its current legislative work be a part of thesolution that we are seeking. Right now there is a window of opportunity open as new legislation on veterinary medicine and animal health is in the process of being adopted. The European Parliament has to make use of this opportunity for the benefit of 500 million Europeans, and set a good example for other regions of the world, said Christina Gestrin, Member of the Nordic Council and Member of Parliament in Finland.

Annicka Engblom, Member of the Nordic Council and Member of Parliament in Sweden, agreed:

- We are making some progress in the Nordic Region in the fight against antibacterial, but it is slow and sporadic. It is important to have political awareness and willingness to dismantle legal, financial and organizational barriers to make further advances. Wider coordinated European effort and better European legislation will help us in the all to make further progress. In this task we are all in the same boat and nobody can do it alone, said Engblom.

Nordic Council recommendations to the European Parliament

The Nordic Council recommend that the European Parliament passes legislation that accomplishes the following:

  • Stops the practice of using antibiotics as an instrument for preventing disease, in reality a substitute for neglecting animal welfare
  • Prohibits doctors and veterinarians to earn money on the sale of antibiotics
  • Supports co-operation between the human and veterinary sectors as well as the involvement of industry that acts responsibly
  • Strengthens monitoring and data collection as a basis for prevention close to the source
  • Limits  the total use of antibiotics, and promotes the use of narrow- spectrum antibiotics as the first choice in treatment
  • Underpins treatment of humans and animals based on diagnostics and an understanding of resistance patterns
  • Improves  controls of emissions and measures to prevent antibiotics in the environment

Read more in The Parliament Magazine article by Engblom, Gestrin and Schaldemose:  
Antibiotic resistance 'threat to human health´`

The Nordic Council is the parliamentary foundation for Nordic cooperation, established in 1952, consisting of 87 representatives of the national parliaments of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in cooperation with Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands.