The Spanish EU Presidency has set out three main priorities for public health. Health inequalities, human organs and chronic diseases are high on its agenda. On the first priority, Spain will organise an expert conference in April ahead of the informal Health Council on 22-23 April. According to sources, the "main challenge" is to agree on "better indicators" and improved health information systems across the European Union to make it easier to identify inequalities in the first place.

Madrid is hoping to reach a political agreement on the organs directive proposal' at the Health Council on 8 June. Proposed in December 2008, this aims to improve the quality and safety measures for organ donations and the exchange of organs between member states. In March, the Spanish will organise an expert conference on the issue in Madrid. The draft is currently at first reading stage. While some member states disagree with the directive's legal basis and want to ensure that the current text does not overlap with national competences, the main problem is a shortage of organs and that is a national responsibility. Spain thinks that it is possible to find a political agreement in the Council before the end of June. The proposed directive seeks to provide a legal framework for organ donation and transplants in the EU while keeping the risks involved to a minimum. It also aims to improve the allocation of organs and to provide transplant surgeons with all the information they need to make an informed choice.

Spain's third priority in this area is to provide a policy framework to tackle the looming EU wide problem of chronic diseases. The Presidency will organise two expert conferences on this issue: one will focus on e-health and the other on patient safety related to infectious, cardiovascular and chronic mental health diseases, such as Alzheimer's, which will become common as a result of the EU's ageing population.

Little progress is expected on the cross-border health care directive since Spain was squarely opposed to the last compromise text from the Swedish EU Presidency, which failed to find a political agreement in December 2009. Madrid says it will wait for the Commission before making any further move in this area. After the debacle at the December Health Council, the EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said that the next Commission should consider withdrawing the whole proposal and let the rules on the reimbursement of costs of cross-border...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT