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Brussels, 30 November 2006

EU Health Programme: Commissioner Kyprianou welcomes Council political agreement

Today in Brussels the Health Ministers Council reached a “political agreement” on the EU Health Programme 2007-2013. A formal “common position” will have to be adopted by the Council in early 2007, and the Programme will have to go through the European Parliament in second reading. The Programme sets the framework for the Commission's funding of projects relating to health between 2007-13 and will be part of a broader EU health strategy to be put forward by the Commission next year. The proposed budget is €365.6 million. The Programme’s objectives are: improving citizens’ health security; promoting health; generating and disseminating health information and knowledge.

“I am very pleased with today’s political agreement reached by European Health Ministers” said European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. “Improving health is important in its own right. But it also plays a key role in addressing challenges such as population ageing, security threats or labour shortages. Health has a role to play in achieving Europe’s full potential for prosperity, solidarity and security. The new Health Programme will be instrumental in reaching these goals. I look forward to working with the Council and Parliament to help discussions to progress rapidly.”

Improving health security

Under the first objective, actions will be taken to protect citizens against health threats. This would include developing EU and Member States’ capacity to respond to cross-border threats, including preparing for coordinated EU and international responses to health emergencies. This objective will also address patient safety and EU legislation on blood, tissues and cells.

Promoting Health

Under the second objective, the Commission will foster healthy active ageing and help bridge health inequalities. It will also continue action on the determinants of health such as nutrition, alcohol, tobacco and drug consumption as well as the quality of social and physical environments.

Health information and knowledge

Under the third objective, the Commission will foster the exchange of knowledge and best practice in areas where the EU can provide added-value in bringing together expertise from different countries, e.g. rare diseases, children's health or any other important area. It will promote EU health monitoring and develop indicators and tools as well as ways of disseminating information to citizens, such as the health-EU portal.

Finally, the Commission has streamlined and incorporated some aspects of health systems co-operation, which was initially a comprehensive strand; it is now focused on cross-border co-operation issues and integrated into all objectives.

What kinds of actions are supported under the Health Programme?

Cross-European health activities are eligible for financial support. Suitable projects must contribute to meeting one or more of the specific objectives set out in the Programme. These objectives can be achieved by using a range of financial instruments such as project grants, operational grants (there are no such grants in the current Public Health Programme), tenders and joint financing.
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