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Parliamentary questions
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13 July 2018
Answer given by Mr Moedas on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-002721/2018

The Commission is aware of the number of people affected by Down syndrome and their plight. The prevalence of Down syndrome in Europe is monitored by the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT)(1), the European network of population-based registries for the epidemiologic surveillance of congenital anomalies.

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission manages the Central Registry and European level coordination as part of the European Platform on Rare Diseases Registration.

Over the past 10 years, the EU has dedicated some EUR 70 million to research on intellectual disabilities and Down syndrome in 61 research projects. The EU will continue to support research in these areas to improve the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities and their carers, and to eliminate stigmatisation and alleviate the social and economic burden.

In the Horizon 2020(2) Societal Challenge 1(3), most topics addressing non-communicable diseases do not specify any diseases in particular and therefore are open to less prevalent diseases, including those involving clinical trials. For instance, the 2019 Work Programme contains a topic on mental and non-mental comorbidities that could support research on the links between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease or autism.

It is the intention of the Commission that the next Framework Programme — Horizon Europe, should maintain this approach of very open competitive calls for proposals. Thus, the Health cluster would not address specific diseases, but two areas of intervention would address the needs of people with disabilities, i.e. area 1 ‘Health throughout the Life Course’ and area 5 ‘Tools, Technologies and Digital Solutions for Health and Care’, while area 3 would address ‘Non-Communicable and Rare Diseases’.

(2)The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)
(3)‘Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing’ http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/health-demographic-change-and-wellbeing

Last updated: 16 July 2018Legal notice