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Health Council

Volume 555: debated on Monday 17 December 2012

The Health part of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council met on 7 December 2012 in Brussels. I represented the UK.

The Council unanimously agreed a general approach on the breakfast directives, following the lifting of the UK’s parliamentary scrutiny reserve. There was a discussion of the serious cross-border health threats proposal, during which the Cyprus Presidency gave a summary of progress made on this dossier during their presidency. The European Commission reiterated their view that it was important for the co-ordination of preparedness planning to be led centrally. A number of member states emphasised that they felt that it was better for the co-ordination of preparedness planning to be led by member states within the Health Security Committee.

The Council conclusions on organ donation and transplantation were adopted without substantive discussion. A number of member states, including the UK, intervened in relation to the healthy ageing across the lifecycle conclusions in order to underline their support for a future EU strategy on alcohol-related harm.

Under any other business, the presidency provided information about the proposal for health for growth, the third multi-annual programme of EU action in health for 2014-20. Information was provided by the presidency on the transparency directive, with several member states indicating their opposition to the proposals during the discussion. The information point on medical devices was the subject of some discussion, with interventions from a number of member states in support of the Commission proposals. During the information point on food intended for infants and young children and food for special medical purposes, the UK stated its opposition to the use of delegated acts in the proposal. The final points under any other business on salt reduction, cross-border healthcare, the WHO framework convention on tobacco control, the working party on public health at senior-level and asbestos were concluded without discussion. Ireland then outlined the priorities for its upcoming presidency.

Finally, there was a lunchtime discussion of the joint action plan on medical devices, which was brought forward by the Commission earlier this year. All member states outlined the progress they had already made, and emphasised the need for a strong EU regulatory framework for medical devices.