HEALTH COUNCIL : CROSS-BORDER HEALTH THREATS: MINISTERS CLOSE TO AGREEMENT.

 
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The Cyprus Presidency is hoping to wrap up the remaining issues regarding the draft decision on serious cross-border health threats during the next meeting of the Working Party on Public Health. During the Health and Consumers Council, on 7 December 2012, member states showed strong support for the proposals developed by Nicosia - with the exception of those on planning, preparation and intervention (Article 4) and those on temporary measures for public health (Article 12).

The draft decision, presented at the end of December 2011, aims to reinforce the EU's capacities and structures to enable it to react efficiently to serious cross-border health threats, whatever their nature: these threats can be linked to communicable diseases, biological agents, chemical and enviornmental threats, and the effects of climate change.

"SATISFACTORY" PROGRESS

At the last Council before Cyprus ceded the helm of the EU to Ireland the Cyprus Presidency told ministers that there had been "satisfactory" progress within the Council regarding the proposed decision. During the seven working group meetings held so far, member states have agreed to give a legal base to the functioning of the Health Security Committee (HSC), which was created in 2001 and is now a hub of informal cooperation and coordination. They also agreed that Article 12 of the proposal should be deleted, which removes the possibility for the Commission to adopt common and temporary public health measures by way of delegated acts. They were not in favour of the measure authorising the Commission to adopt implementing acts to define the necessary procedures for establishing coordination between member states on supervisory capacities, early warning systems and evaluation and intervention in the face of serious cross-border health threats. Article 5, which sets up a voluntary system of joint signing of the market for medical countermeasures (including vaccines), was acceptable for the large majority of member states.

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