On Wednesday, 9 November, the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA) organised a conference "Psychology - a contribution to EU policy making" at the occasion of the 30th anniversary of this organisation, which unites European national psychologists` associations. The decision to organise this event with European psychologists was made by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group and three of its members: Leonidas Donskis, Nadja Hirsch (Germany) ir Vilja Savisaar Toomast (Estonia).
The aim of the conference, which attracted more than 120 participants, was to provide Members of the European Parliament, officials from the European Commission and other European bodies up-to-date information on psychology and what it can offer to European society. The conference highlighted psychologists` expertise and possible contributions to policy-making in such areas as health, education, work, community, traffic and other fields.
The delegates from 28 European countries were welcomed by MEP Prof. Dr. Leonidas Donskis, who emphasised the need to act upon the problems of public and mental health and to rely more heavily on psychology.
Prof. Dr. Robert Roe, President of EFPA and Professor- Emeritus from Maastricht University, the Netherlands, spoke about "Psychology for Europe". He highlighted main areas in which psychological expertise can contribute to EU policy making: health, school, work, community, transport, sports, law and law enforcement. Putting special emphasis on prevention he noted that psychologists can do much more than treating individual clients, namely helping to change the behaviour of many people, signalling problems and intervening at an early stage, developing social skills, improving living and working conditions. Dr. R. Roe also encouraged the teaching of psychology at schools, familiarising children with the basics of human thinking, feeling and acting. "Psychological literacy for all might help to avoid and reduce many problems people suffer from", said the speaker.
There were other speakers of the conference: a representative from the European Commission, guests from Austria, Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, and after their speeches the questions-answers and discussions took place. The conference was concluded by MEP Vilja Savisaar-Toomast from Estonia.