Members of the European Parliament are pushing the continent’s leaders to recognise Alzheimer’s disease as a public health priority.

MEPs have adopted what is known as a written declaration and called on the European Commission and its member states to develop a plan that will promote pan-European research into Alzheimer’s. It also wants countries to collaborate “in order to improve early diagnosis and the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers”.

The written declaration was launched by MEPs Francoise Grossetete (France), John Bowis (UK), Katalin Levai (Hungary), Jan Tadeusz Masiel (Poland) and Antonios Trakatellis (Greece). It received the support of 465 MEP from all 27 countries of the European Union and across political boundaries.

Ms Grossetete, chairperson of the European Alzheimer’s Alliance, said she was encouraged that parliament shares “my conviction that the European Union cannot ignore the lives of the 6.1 million Europeans who currently have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia”. She added that the initiative will result in “concrete measures which will improve the quality of life of people with dementia and carers alike”.

Jean Georges, executive director of Alzheimer Europe, said the parliament “has clearly demonstrated that Alzheimer’s disease does not recognise any geographical borders or political differences”. He added that to get such widespread support “has been truly awe-inspiring”.