The Council of the EU configuration for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumers (EPSCO) met on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 December 2012. During its deliberations, it discussed the European Commission’s proposal for a Decision on serious cross-border threats to health, which is currently awaiting adoption by the full plenary of the European Parliament.
The Commission proposal seeks to extend the mandate of the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) to cover all serious cross-border threats to health, and to strengthen the role of the Health Security Committee (HSC). In light of recent crises such as the H1N1 pandemic, the outbreak of E.coli and the volcanic ash cloud, the Commission proposal extends the notion of health threats to cover all heath threats caused by biological, chemical or environmental causes.
Under the leadership of the Cyprus Presidency, the Council has maintained its position that the Decision should not encroach upon the member states’ autonomy in regards of preparedness planning and response. The Commission’s role, in the Council’s view, should be restricted to supporting the creation and implementation of national plans.
In particular, the Council has focused upon:
Further discussions will take place within the Council, with the aim of enabling the incoming Irish Presidency to engage in negotiations with the European Parliament and move towards a first reading agreement.
European Parliament Public Health Committee votes on Serious Health Threats proposal
*Updated* EPHA briefing on health threats from communicable diseases
European Commission public consultation on Public Health Threats
EPHA Briefing on Health Security