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Health Council

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 17 December 2015

The Health Council met in Brussels on 7 December 2015 as part of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council meetings. I represented the UK.

Member states adopted Council conclusions on the reduction of alcohol-related harm, personalised medicine for patients, supporting people living with dementia and lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak. A number of member states called on the European Commission to commit to a new EU alcohol strategy. The UK recognised the huge pressure on public services which results from alcohol misuse and welcomed the presidency’s work. The UK stressed the importance of sharing information on best practice but cautioned that any further EU action on alcohol had to focus on areas of existing competence and had to fully respect member states’ primary responsibility for the public health of their populations. On dementia, the UK underlined the importance of the issue and highlighted the considerable alignment with the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020.

The Luxembourg presidency gave a brief update on trialogue discussions regarding medical devices and in-vitro devices regulations and outlined progress made through the general approach agreed in October. The presidency outlined that further positive steps had been taken on a number of issues through trialogue discussions.

The Commission gave an update on its report on trans fats in foods published on 3 December 2015. The Commission stated work would now begin on an impact assessment that would consider the available evidence.

The Dutch delegation set out its priorities for its upcoming EU presidency, which begins on 1 January. These include anti-microbial resistance, innovative medicine, and healthy foodstuffs.