My right honourable friend the Minister of State (Rosie Winterton) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The informal meeting of EU Health Ministers took place on 19 and 20 April in Aachen. I represented the UK. Items on the agenda were health services consultation and pandemic influenza preparedness. The vaccine for the human papiloma virus (HPV) was raised under any other business.
On the health services consultation, the Commission presented a summary of the responses to the consultation on a community framework for health services. Member states reiterated the key points of their own responses. There was broad support among member states for some community-level action combining both legislative elements and practical measures.
On pandemic influenza preparedness, the Commission reported on the recent findings of the European Centre of Disease Control on pandemic preparedness in the EU. The presidency noted that while important progress had been made, there was still more to be done.
Luxembourg raised the issue of the HPV vaccine due to concerns that misleading information about it could jeopardise preventive work. Ministers from Portugal and Spain echoed these concerns. The Commission noted that an expert working group would be looking at the new vaccine.