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Cross-sectoral cooperation necessary for the management of antimicrobial resistance

In the second part of today’s session held within the informal ministerial meeting at Brdo pri Kranju, EU Health Ministers discussed antimicrobial resistance, which, on account of the improper use of antibiotics, poses a serious public health risk in Europe and throughout the world. “The objective of the Slovenian Presidency is additionally to encourage activities to manage the issue by devoting political attention to it, especially at the cross-sectoral level,” emphasised the Council President, Slovenian Minister of Health Zofija Mazej Kukovič.

The issue of antimicrobial resistance was already discussed by the Council back in 2001 when the Council Recommendation on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine was adopted. On this basis, a number of measures were taken and activities performed by most Member States, including Slovenia, which among other things cut down on the use of antibiotics and curbed the incidence of hospital infections. Nevertheless, there are still many areas where Member States have not made sufficient progress in implementing the Recommendation and additional efforts are still required. The issue continues to be of critical importance as antimicrobial resistance is on the increase in the European Union as well as throughout the world, and calls for attention at the political level.

In March, the subject was also discussed in Slovenia at the joint meeting of Member State Directors-General for health and experts on antimicrobial resistance. At this meeting they outlined the scale of the issue and examples of good practice.

The Slovenian Presidency’s objective is additionally encourage activities to manage the issue by devoting political attention to it, especially at the cross-sectoral level. The Slovenian Presidency will draw up a proposal for Council conclusions on the subject to be submitted to the Ministers at the regular Council meeting in Luxembourg in June for adoption.

In this context, Mrs Zofija Mazej Kukovič pointed out that she is pleased that “the Slovenian initiative represents a preamble to an in-depth discussion as the Commission and the next Presidency countries have already announced that this area will be among their key priorities.”

At today’s meeting, the issue under discussion was presented by the Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Szuszanna Jakab, who also highlighted the ECDC’s role in managing the problem.


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Date: 18.04.2008