Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-12-18-Speech-4-011"

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"Mr President, it is customary for speakers to thank the rapporteur, but I want, today, to break this rule by thanking the petitioner, Mrs Louise McVay, for submitting this petition and thereby drawing attention not only to her own plight but also to the immense difficulties faced by MS sufferers in the EU, and the unequal treatment they receive. Even though the Commission’s initial response has nothing encouraging to say about this petition, I am very glad that the Committee on Petitions has taken the initiative in producing this report and, yet again, taken very seriously something that is of concern to the European public; I am convinced that Mrs Aaltonen’s report will prompt changes that will improve the quality of life for MS sufferers in the European Union. Just how urgently needed that is is demonstrated by the considerable qualitative differences between the responses by the health ministries of the Member States to treatments and therapies for people suffering from MS, which also show that sufferers from MS are not yet treated with the consideration that they urgently need. This report is an initial assessment, and the conclusions to which it comes are important ones, reflecting, among other things, the demands made by the German MS Association, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in November. I see it as being of the utmost importance that the needs of young people with MS should be considered and taken into account, as well as that those affected by it should be enabled, as far as possible and for as long as possible, to work and enjoy equal rights in the sphere of employment. Our rapporteur, Mrs Aaltonen, herself demonstrates that, with the right therapy and treatment, people with MS can lead active lives in the world of work and in society at large. The Group of the Party of European Socialists, to which I belong, endorses all the amendments tabled by the rapporteur and the report as a whole. The various tragic effects of the disease, which affect the lives of sufferers and their families, compel people with MS to engage in a lifelong struggle against a disease that is still incurable and whose progress is unpredictable. The EU must play a strategic role in improving equal access to therapies and treatments, by calling on the Member States to coordinate their actions, including in research, and by facilitating access to the best practice in treatment and rehabilitation. Sufferers from MS in the future Member States will benefit from this."@en1

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