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EU: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 5 December 2007

My right honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Dawn Primarolo), has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will meet on 5 and 6 December 2007. The health and consumer affairs part of the council will be taken on 6 December.

Items on the main agenda are: health and migration in the European Union; the EU health strategy; a Commission communication on organ donation and transplantation; an EU strategy on nutrition, overweight and obesity; and a progress report on combating HIV/AIDS within the EU and in the neighbouring countries.

Ministers will have a policy debate on the EU health strategy and will be asked to adopt draft council conclusions on this. The Commission’s proposals aim to develop a strategy for 2008-13 for actions at EU level which will add most value to member states’ health priorities. The UK is broadly supportive of the strategy, which focuses on many of the UK's own priorities for EU action, and can support the conclusions.

There will also be a debate on health and migration in the EU and the presidency will ask Ministers to adopt draft council conclusions on this issue. The Portuguese presidency chose health and migration as its theme in recognition of the fact that migrant populations are often exposed to health inequalities. The UK broadly supports the conclusions.

Also tabled for adoption are council conclusions on a Commission White Paper on a strategy for Europe on nutrition, overweight and obesity-related issues, and a Commission communication on organ donation and transplantation. The UK is fully supportive of these conclusions as drafted. There will also be a presidency progress report on combating HIV/AIDS within the EU and in the neighbouring countries.

Over lunch, the presidency will chair an informal ministerial discussion on the Commission’s forthcoming proposals for a community framework on health services.

Under any other business, there will be information from the presidency on its health conferences and on draft council conclusions on environment and health, which are to be discussed in the Environmental Council later this month. There will also be information items from the Commission on a community framework on health services, a strategy for Europe on mental health, health security related matters, the Commission’s high-level group on health services and medical care and the framework convention on tobacco control; and the Slovenian delegation will provide information on the work programme for its forthcoming presidency.