Epsco Council : Debate to Focus on Social Policy

Article excerpt

During the week of 5 to 9 July, Belgium will preside its first informal Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO). The first two days will focus on health and the last three on employment.

The fight against cancer, the lessons of the H1N1 flu pandemic and health security will be the three main themes discussed in the first two days, which will bring together the health ministers. "The meeting will be inspired by innovation and solidarity in health, the central theme of our Presidency," said Belgian Health and Social Affairs Minister Laurette Onkelinx, who will lead the session in Brussels. Health Commissioner John Dalli and the regional director for Europe of the World Health Organisation (WHO) will also participate in the meeting.

On the first day, the ministers will confirm the European political commitment in the fight against cancer and discuss ways of consolidating their common efforts. During the afternoon, they will discuss the lessons learned by the member states, the European Commission and its agencies from management of the pandemic in 2009. The health ministers will base their debate on the conclusions of the high-level conference, Health security: Lessons learned from the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 - better management of future health threats', which is analysing, on 1-2 July, early evaluation, epidemiological surveillance, the economic impact, medical measures and management of information and communication with the public. The discussions will provide input for the revision of the Commission's communication on preparedness and intervention by the EU in the event of a pandemic.

On 6 July, the ministers will exchange views on health security with a view to renewal of the mandate of the Health Security Committee.

2020 STRATEGY

The informal meeting of employment and social policy ministers will focus on the Europe 2020' jobs and growth strategy. …