Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

DECEMBER 7, 2021 7:30 PM

Against the backdrop of the restrictions due to the new Omicron variant, EU member states expressed their support for a common approach at the EU level on the proposal on the applicability of the EU Digital COVID Certificate that is expected to be adopted later this month. Harmonising the validity of the certificates will further facilitate border crossings and the movement of persons within the EU.

In addition, the ministers called for increased sequencing capacity, contact tracing and compliance with non-pharmacological measures, including during the upcoming holidays. They also endorsed the joint procurement of therapeutics to treat patients infected with the coronavirus, as pooling of procurement has proved successful with vaccines. The ministers jointly called on EU citizens to get their booster shots.

They then took note of the progress made in strengthening the resilience of the European Health Union, which is the Slovenian Presidency’s priority for health. In addition to updating ministers on two compromises already reached with the European Parliament on the strengthened mandates of two European agencies (the European Medicines Agency – EMA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – ECDC), the Minister of Health, Janez Poklukar, led the discussion on the Council Regulation on the emergency framework regarding medical countermeasures. In principle, the ministers supported the regulation which will ensure the timely development, production, and distribution of medicines, vaccines and other medical countermeasures in the event of a health emergency, but additional questions that were specifically highlighted will also need to be answered.

The Council approved conclusions on strengthening the European Health Union, which focus on implementing innovative solutions for resilient health systems, improving the accessibility and availability of medicinal products, the fight against cancer and the EU’s role in global health.

As we face another wave and new variants of the virus, we need to look to the future and plan for it. Today, the ministers have agreed that we need a more resilient European Health Union, which will provide better insight into cross-border health threats and a more unified response at the EU level, so that we can protect the health of our citizens in the future. Europe will be more resilient after today’s meeting. – Janez Poklukar, Minister of Health

The Slovenian Presidency and the Commission also briefed the ministers on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the outcome of the special session of the WHO General Assembly on pandemic preparedness and response, and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, 6-7 December 2021

Source – EU Council Presidency


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