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MMD group meeting: MEPs discuss upcoming legislative initiatives
and how to raise awareness of diabetes within EU institutions

26 May 2021

The first meeting of the MEPs Mobilising for Diabetes (MMD) Interest Group took place virtually on May 12. MEPs gathered to discuss how current health and non-health related policy initiatives can improve the lives of people living with diabetes (PwD) and how to ensure that their voice is heard in policy design and implementation.

According to MMD co-Chair, Christel Schaldemose,: ‘It really makes sense that we have this group in the Parliament to put diabetes higher up on the agenda and to do more because it is clearly needed.

Today, one in ten people (10% of EU population) lives with diabetes which is a key risk factor for cancer, cardio-vascular diseases, kidney diseases, retinopathy and the more serious forms of COVID-19. The pandemic has worsened inequalities in access to medicines and care across the EU and shown that the current focus on treatment rather than prevention is a severe obstacle to the realisation of strong and resilient healthcare systems.

MEPs discussed how policy initiatives such as the EU4Health programme, the Health Technology Regulation, the European Health Data Space and the EU Pharmaceutical general legislation can serve to advance PwD’s needs and preferences and reduce inequalities across Europe. The Group was unanimous about the need to raise awareness of diabetes and move away from the portrayal of diabetes as a lifestyle disease. Such misconception not only increases the stigma and discrimination against PwD but also hinders political action. To improve understanding and raise awareness of diabetes, a series of events will be organised at the European Parliament, aligned with specific milestones of the IDF Europe’s Centenary of the Discovery of Insulin Campaign and around World Diabetes Day (November 14). These events will be organised by a variety of diabetes stakeholders including members of the European Diabetes Forum.

The MMD group is committed to reversing the tide on the diabetes epidemic in the EU, improving the lives of people living with diabetes and their families and raising awareness of the burden of diabetes on the healthcare sector and society at large. Sirpa Pietikäinen, MMD co-Chair, closed the meeting by thanking MEPs and their assistants for their participation and for bringing new ideas to the table. She added that in this Group ‘it’s exceptionally clear where we need to go, what we need to do and how to do it’.

MEPs who are interested in joining the group are invited to contact the secretariat at