The number 1 killer in Europe

A need for action

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of death and disability in Europe and accounts for 1.8 million deaths in the EU 28 each year, nearly half of all deaths in Europe. In response to this, the European Heart Network (EHN) and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) are committed to identifying specific areas of policies and public health interventions which can contribute to preventing avoidable deaths and disabilities from CVD.

EHN’s and ESC’s close collaboration with MEPs on cardiovascular health in the context of the Public Health Action Programme and the Cardiovascular Health Resolution have increasingly highlighted the importance of an ongoing dialogue about addressing Europe’s number 1 killer.

Several initiatives currently exist to provide Member States with the appropriate tools to help reduce the burden of this disease. These include the European Heart Health Charter, the EuroHeart Project, the EP Resolution on action to tackle cardiovascular disease and the revised European Guidelines on CVD prevention in clinical practice.

MEP Heart Group


The Members of the European Parliament (MEP) Heart Group is a forum which provides MEPs with an opportunity to generate dialogue, outreach and activities at EU and Member State level. It is made up of MEPs who have an interest in addressing CVD in the EU and in contributing to initiatives which aim to reduce the burden of this disease.

Several of its supporters have a medical background and/or are members of the EP ENVI Committee, but access to the Group is not restricted to these categories.


The main objective of the group is to promote measures that will help reduce the burden of CVD in the EU and raise awareness of the disease amongst target audiences through a series of dedicated activities such as:

Act as a “hub"

Act as a “hub" for exchange of experience, information and data on CVH and CVD prevention between relevant stakeholders.

Drive prevention guidelines

Drive the development of political prevention guidelines on CVH promotion and prevention of CVD.

Liaise stakeholder groups

Liaise with relevant stakeholder groups to promote CVH and prevent CVD. Stakeholder groups may include patient, public health, professional and scientific organisations, industry and others as appropriate.

Participate in roundtables

Participate in roundtables or discussion groups in the EP and in Member States to address CVD risk factors and advocate new policy initiatives.

Provide input and guidance

Provide input and guidance on inclusion of CVD in the revised Public Health Action Programme, the EU Health Strategy, other health policy initiatives and the EP Resolution on cardiovascular health.