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Ministers support structured cooperation to help implement strategic EU health goals

The morning session of the today’s Informal Meeting of Ministers of Health, chaired by the Slovenian Health Minister, Zofija Mazej Kukovič, has just concluded. The EU Ministers discussed structured cooperation between the Council and the European Commission as the key to achieving EU Health Strategy goals and to resolving other strategic EU health issues. In cooperation with the Member States, the Presidency drafted a proposal for a structure to enable strategic cooperation. As Mrs Mazej Kukovič pointed out, “This is the path to success which will confer on health and healthcare systems the necessary visibility and significance in the context of EU policy. It will enable Member States to participate more actively in creating a strategic vision and defining activities giving greater added value to all.”

Back in December 2007, the Council of Ministers responsible for health adopted important conclusions in which the Ministers undertook to encourage cooperation between the Member States and the European Commission aimed at bringing an EU Health Strategy into being. The key to achieving strategy goals and resolving other important strategic issues, however, is strengthened and structured cooperation between the Council and the Commission. Accordingly, the current Council President, Slovenian Health Minister Zofija Mazej Kukovič, today presented the Presidency proposal for a structure enabling such cooperation, including at a strategic level, which has also been harmonised with the Member States and the Commission.

Structured cooperation, with appropriate high-level representation of the Member States as well as the Commission, will enable discussions on strategic matters related to health and healthcare systems. In this way, priorities, objectives and the necessary activities should be identified at EU level and their implementation monitored. Mainstreaming the principle of health in every single policy and a horizontal overview of initiatives which affect the health area are also important in this respect.

In their debate, the EU Ministers supported the proposed progress in the direction of cooperation and further activities in this field. Although informal, today’s discussion was extremely important for Slovenia as the Presidency country, since the positions expressed by the Ministers will form the basis on which Slovenia will attempt to formulate a final agreement, which is expected to be approved in the form of conclusions at the Council of Health Ministers meeting in June.


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Date: 18.04.2008