The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 30 November to 1 December. The health issues were taken on 30 November, where my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for health services represented the United Kingdom. Items on the main agenda were the amended proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a second programme of community action in the field of health (2007-2013); health in all policies; the EU strategy to reduce alcohol related harm; international health regulations; and the work of the Commission's high level group on health services and medical care.
Political agreement was reached on the amended proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a second programme of community action in the field of health (2007-2013).
Council conclusions were adopted on health in all policies. These focus on the importance of addressing the health impact of policies developed by other sectors.
Council conclusions were also adopted on the EU strategy to reduce alcohol related harm. This was followed by a policy debate on the strategy. The UK joined widespread support for the approach it outlines, and described how the Government, industry and stakeholders are working together in the UK, including through the social responsibility standards on the production and sale of alcohol.
There was a lunchtime discussion on the international health regulations (IHR), where Ministers supported a note prepared by the presidency on the Commission's recent communication on the Community's role in the implementation of the IHR. The note underlined the need for further discussion and clarification before agreement to a Community role. Ministers also supported a further note produced by the presidency, underlining the importance of the non-legislative collaboration between EU health systems taken forward by the Commission's high level group on health services and medical care.
Under any other business, the Council heard a progress report from the presidency on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on advanced therapy medicinal products and amending Directive 2001/83/EC and Regulation (EC) No 726/2004. This will continue to be taken forward by the Council Pharmaceutical Working Group during the German presidency.
On the eve of the Council, the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou, hosted an initial exchange of views with health Ministers (which my right hon. Friend attended) on the communication from the Commission regarding Community action on health services.