Skip to content .

Service navigation

Main Navigation


Further information

Link to opens in a new window


Press Releases


EU Health Ministers confirm commitment to reducing burden of cancer

© The Council of the European Union

Today in Luxembourg, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Slovenia, Zofija Mazej Kukovič, chaired the second day of the meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO). The EU Ministers of Health adopted Council conclusions on the reduction of the burden of cancer, in which they called upon the Member States to develop and implement comprehensive strategies for cancer control. Such strategies should include “disease prevention, early detection, high-quality treatment, psychosocial support, rehabilitation and palliative care,” emphasised the current Council President, Slovenian Health Minister Zofija Mazej Kukovič. Following a successful expert conference on the subject, Slovenia has thus achieved a political commitment on the part of the Member States to reducing the burden of cancer.

The ministers’ discussions once again highlighted the great importance of prevention. At least one third of cancers can be prevented. In the conclusions, the ministers call for the further development and implementation of actions in the field of health promotion and disease prevention with a view to reducing the exposure of individuals to key risk factors such as smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful and dangerous consumption of alcohol.

The debates on reducing the burden of cancer held during the Slovenian Presidency will have a considerable influence on the work of the European Commission downstream. The Commission is expected to draw up an action plan on cancer control in the EU including all the aspects of comprehensive cancer control. Implementation of the action plan will help reduce not only the burden of cancer but also that of many other chronic diseases. This was also a goal set by the Republic of Slovenia in the area of health when taking over the EU Council Presidency.

In addition, the EU Health Ministers adopted Council conclusions on antimicrobial resistance, an issue to which Slovenia has paid particular attention. The excessive and erroneous use of antibiotics has encouraged the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other micro-organisms. As a result, today, we are faced with the problem that certain traditional treatments have lost their efficacy which poses a serious threat to public health worldwide as well as in Europe.

In the conclusions adopted today, the Council calls upon the Member States to establish structures and earmark funds for implementing the 2002 Council recommendations on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine and to continue to carry out special strategies aimed at the management of antimicrobial resistance.

The Member States should further promote the prudent use of antibiotics through programmes raising the awareness of the general public, medical practitioners, health professionals, health professionals in the veterinary sector, including veterinary surgeons, involving credible, scientifically-supported evidence-based messages and actions, including information on the risks of inappropriate use and self-medication.

The Council called upon the European Commission to support research in the area of antimicrobial resistance and, in line with the Health in All Policies approach, to promote further cooperation among all Directorates-General and relevant agencies and to facilitate cooperation between Member States in all aspects of managing antimicrobial resistance.

The Slovenian initiative on controlling antimicrobial resistance has triggered more in-depth discussions on this burning issue and has thus achieved the Presidency’s set objective. The European Commission and the upcoming EU Presidency countries have already confirmed that antimicrobial resistance will be included among their priorities in the future.


Accessibility     . Print     .

Date: 13.06.2008