Luxembourg, 2-3 June 2005
8980/05 (Presse 117)
2663rd Council meting
President Mr François BILTGEN
EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL POLICY 7
– Guidelines for employment 2005-2008 7
– Railway workers - agreement by social partners 8
– Bilbao Agency and Dublin Foundation 8
– Working time 10
– Economic migration 11
– European Institute for Gender Equality 12
– Beijing Platform for Action - Council conclusions 12
– Medicinal products for paediatric use 14
– Nutritional claims 16
– Vitamins, minerals and other substances added to food 16
– Action programme for health and consumer protection 17
– Obesity, nutrition and physical activity 18
– HIV/AIDS - Council conclusions 20
– Mental health - Council conclusions 23
Other business 25
OTHER ITEMS APPROVED
The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:
Mr Rudy DEMOTTE Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health
Mr Zdeněk ŠKROMACH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Labour and Social Affairs
Mr Petr LÁMA Deputy Minister for Health with responsibility for health insurance
Mr Lars Løkke RASMUSSEN Minister for the Interior and Health
Mr Lars BARFOED Minister for Family and Consumer Affairs
Mr Claus Hjort FREDERIKSEN Minister for Employment
Ms Renate KÜNAST Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture
Mr Gert ANDRES Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour
Mr Klaus Theo SCHRÖDER State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health and Social Security
Mr Jaak AAB Minister for Social Affairs
Mr Panos PANAGIOTOPOULOS Minister for Employment and Social Protection
Ms Elena SALGADO MÉNDEZ Minister for Health and Consumer Affairs
Mr Christian MASSET Deputy Permanent Representative
Ms Mary HARNEY Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Health and Children
Mr Tony KILLEEN Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (with special responsibility for Labour Affairs including Training)
Mr Roberto MARONI Minister for Labour and Social Policy
Mr Francesco STORACE Minister for Health
Mr Christos TALIADOROS Minister for Labour and Social Insurance
Mr Andreas GAVRIELIDES Minister for Health
Mr Gundars BËRZIŅŠ Minister for Health
Ms Dagnija STAĶE Minister for Welfare
Mr Žilvinas PADAIGA Minister for Health
Ms Vilija BLINKEVIČIŪTĖ Minister for Social Security and Labour
Mr François BILTGEN Minister for Labour and Employment, Minister for Culture, Higher Education and Research, Minister for Religious Affairs
Ms Marie-Josée JACOBS Minister for the Family and Integration, Minister for Equal Opportunities
Mr Mars DI BARTOLOMEO Minister for Health and Social Security
Mr Gábor CSIZMÁR Minister for Labour and Employment
Mr Jenő RÁCZ Minister for Health
Mr Louis GALEA Minister for Education, Youth and Employment
Mr Louis DEGUARA Minister for Health, the Elderly and Community Care
Mr Johannes Franciscus HOOGERVORST Minister for Health, Welfare and Sport
Mr Henk VAN HOOF Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Employment
Mr Martin BARTENSTEIN Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour
Ms Maria RAUCH-KALLAT Federal Minister for Health and Women
M. Pawel SZTWIERTNIA Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Health
Mr Rafał BANIAK Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Social Policy
Ms Magdalene SRODA Minister for Equality (Men and Women)
Mr António CORREIA DE CAMPOS Minister for Health
Mr Fernando MEDINA State Secretary for Employment and Vocational Training
Mr Janez DROBNIČ Minister for Labour, the Family and Social Affairs
Mr Andrej BRUČAN Minister for Health
Mr Ľudovít KANÍK Minister for Labour, Social Affairs and the Family
Mr Peter OTTINGER State Secretary of the Ministry of Health
Ms Tarja FILATOV Minister for Labour
Ms Liisa HYSSÄLÄ Minister of Health and Social Services
Mr Hans KARLSSON Minister at the Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications, with responsibility for Working Life
Mr Morgan JOHANSSON Minister at the Ministry of Social Affairs, with responsibility for Public Health and Social Services
Ms Ann-Christin NYKVIST Minister for Agriculture, with responsibility for Consumer Affairs
Mr Alan JOHNSON Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Ms Rosie WINTERTON Minister of State, Department of Health
Mr Vladimír ŠPIDLA Member
Mr Markos KYPRIANOU Member
The Governments of the acceding States were represented as follows:
Ms Ivanka CHRISTOVA Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Affairs
Mr Gheorghe BARBU Minister for Labour, Social Solidarity and the Family
Mr Mircea CINTEZA Minister for Health
The Council agreed on a general approach to the proposal for a Decision on Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the Member States (2005-2008).
The general approach covered the following guidelines:
These guidelines should guide Member States' employment policies in addressing the following three priorities:
Following the guidelines issued by the 2005 Spring European Council, the proposal for a Decision on employment guidelines is one of the elements of the proposal for Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs. The outcome of the Council's proceedings will be submitted to the June European Council for approval. The Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs will serve as the basis for the national reform programmes to be submitted by Member States by Autumn 2005.
The Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee delivered their Joint Opinion on 13 May 2005 (8986/05). The European Parliament delivered its opinion on 26 May 2005 and the Economic and Social Committee gave its opinion on 31 May 2005. The Committee of the Regions has not yet delivered its opinion.
Proposed legal basis: Article 128(2) of the Treaty - obligation to consult the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the Employment Committee.
The Council reached political agreement on a draft Directive intended to give effect to an agreement concluded in January 2004 by the social partners (Community of European Railways and the European Transport Workers' Federation) on certain aspects of the working conditions of mobile workers assigned to cross-border services in the railway sector.
The Directive will be formally adopted at a forthcoming Council meeting. Austria, Slovakia and the United Kingdom stated that they intended to abstain at the formal adoption of the act.
In view of concerns expressed by delegations regarding the impact of certain aspects of this Directive, particularly in the context of the liberalisation of the railway sector, the Commission agreed to report to the Council, before the date laid down for the transposition of the Directive, on the economic and social impact of this agreement and to take the necessary measures in the event of a new agreement between the social partners.
The Agreement covers, in particular, daily and weekly rest, breaks, driving time, records of working hours and provisions for future evaluation and follow-up. It should be stated that in matters of social policy, Article 139(1) of the Treaty gives the social partners at Community level the possibility of entering into a dialogue which may lead to contractual relations, including agreements which can be implemented, at the joint request of the signatory parties, by a Council Decision on a proposal from the Commission. On 8 February 2005 the Commission presented a proposal for a Decision (6364/05), attaching the agreement concluded by the social partners.
Legal basis: Article 139(2) of the Treaty - consultation of the European Parliament not required.
The Council reached political agreement on each of the draft Regulations amending the Regulations establishing:
The draft Regulations are essentially aimed at making the operation of these agencies more efficient, particularly in the context of EU enlargement.
The European Parliament delivered its opinion on 28 April 2005.
The Regulations will be formally adopted at a forthcoming meeting of the Council.
Legal basis: Article 308 – consultation procedure with the European Parliament, unanimity required for a Council decision.
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (Bilbao)
Most amendments proposed by the European Parliament were welcomed by the Council and are included in the text.
The Agency's main tasks are:
In carrying out its activities, the Bilbao Agency devotes particular attention to small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Agency's main characteristic is its information network of national focal points. Through that network the Agency cooperates closely with the competent national authorities in Member States and the research centres designated to coordinate and transmit the information for and from the Agency.
The Agency has a tripartite Administrative Board made up of representatives of governments, employers' organisations and employees' organisations. The Commission is also represented on the Administrative Board.
The aim of this legislative proposal is to strengthen the strategic role of the Administrative Board, while assigning more administrative tasks to the existing Bureau and recognising its role officially.
The Commission proposal aimed at amending the initial Regulation to enable decisions to be taken by an absolute majority within the Administrative Board was adopted by the Council with the following exceptions: decisions in the context of the annual work programme and those with budgetary repercussions for the national focal points also require the consent of the majority of members of the governments representatives' group.
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Dublin)
The tasks of the Foundation are to develop and to pursue ideas on the improvement of living and working conditions in the medium and long term in the light of practical experience and to identify factors leading to change.
The Foundation has a tripartite Administrative Board made up of national representatives of governments, employers' organisations and employees' organisations. In addition, the Commission is represented on the Board.
The aim of this proposal is to strengthen the strategic role of the Administrative Board while assigning more administrative tasks to the existing Bureau and recognising its role officially.
Provisions have been included to extend the application of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Communities to the staff of the Foundation. Hitherto the Foundation has had its own Staff Regulations.
The Council examined an amended proposal for a Directive submitted by the Commission on 31 May 2005 (9554/05), the aim of which is to amend Directive 2003/88/EC on the organisation of working time, following the opinion delivered by the European Parliament at first reading on 11 May 2005 (8725/05).
The aim of the Commission proposal is to improve legal certainty with regard to regulating working time, particularly in the light of the case law of the Court of Justice relating to inactive periods of on-call time in certain professions, particularly the medical profession.
The main amendments which the proposal for a Directive will introduce into Directive 2003/88/EC concern:
Following the Council's discussions, the President drew the following conclusions in an oral statement:
Legal basis: Article 137(2) – co-decision procedure with the European Parliament and qualified majority required for a Council decision.
The Council held an exchange of views on the Green Paper on an EU approach to managing economic migration (5436/05), submitted by the Commission on 14 January 2005, and in particular on its implications for the working of domestic labour markets, in the context of the European employment strategy.
The Green Paper concerns admission procedures for the economic migration of third country nationals. It proposes a number of options with a view to the progressive introduction of a Community legislative framework, in accordance with an action plan which the Commission is due to submit this year. The action plan would follow on from the adoption of the Hague Programme, which laid the foundations for progress within the framework of freedom, security and justice.
The aim of the discussion was to enable the Commission to sound out delegations' initial reactions to the questions asked in the Green Paper.
Discussion centred on the following three topics in particular:
During the discussion, delegations acknowledged that the subject of migration warranted action at EU level, insofar as all European Union States were affected when third country nationals entered a Member State. However, action should fully respect the principle of subsidiarity by setting a common framework for some aspects while not encroaching on Member States' responsibility for managing migratory flows.
In their remarks the delegations broached subjects such as: defining the limits between those aspects which should be resolved at Community level (for example, databases on labour market requirements) and those which it would be better to resolve at national level; the need for flexible solutions which should take into account the specific characteristics of the Member States (for example the different demographic trends in the various Member States); the need to ensure that there was no Community national prepared to fill a job before offering it to a third country national, and the need for migration policy to go hand in hand with measures for integrating migrants.
Moreover, a number of delegations pointed out that freedom of movement for workers had not yet been achieved within the European Union.
The Commission announced that it would take these remarks into account when drawing up its action plan.
Pending receipt of the European Parliament's opinion, the Council arrived at a general approach on a draft Regulation establishing a European Institute for Gender Equality.
The Commission submitted its proposal in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council on 17 and 18 June 2004 (paragraph 43).
The aim of the Commission proposal (7244/05) is to establish an institute to give technical support to the Community institutions and the Member States, in particular as regards the collection, analysis and dissemination of data and comparable statistics and the development of methodological tools for integrating gender equality policies.
The Institute will have the aims of helping to promote and strengthen gender equality, helping the Community institutions to fight all discrimination on the grounds of gender and increasing awareness of issues linked with gender equality among European Union citizens.
The decision on the seat of the Institute will be taken at intergovernmental level. Interested delegations have submitted their applications.
Legal basis: Articles 13(2) and 141(3) of the Treaty – co-decision procedure with the European Parliament and qualified majority required for a Council decision.
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
gender equality is a fundamental principle of the European Union enshrined in the EC Treaty and one of the objectives and tasks of the Community and that mainstreaming equality between women and men in all its activities represents a specific mission for the Community;
the full enjoyment of all human rights by women and girls is an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights and is essential for the advancement of women and girls, peace and development;
1. following the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, the Madrid European Council (15 to 16 December 1995) requested an annual review of the implementation in the Member States of the Beijing Platform for Action;
2. since 1999, sets of quantitative and qualitative indicators have been developed by subsequent Presidencies in some of the 12 critical areas of concern in the Beijing Platform for Action, namely: 1999 - Women in political decision-making; 2000 - Women in the economy (reconciliation of work and family life); 2001 - Women in the economy (on equal pay); 2002 - Violence against women; 2003 - Women and men in economic decision-making; 2004 - Sexual harassment at the workplace. Each year the Council has adopted conclusions on these indicators;
3. the report of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union presented at the European Conference held in Luxembourg on 2 and 3 February 2005 on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (Beijing + 5), undertook an analysis of progress made within the European Union, of national mechanisms, their methods and tools and identified obstacles preventing the full realisation of gender equality as well as the major remaining challenges;
4. the European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2005 on the "Follow-up of the fourth World Conference – Platform for Action (Beijing + 10)" and the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 9 February 2005 on "Beijing +10: Review of progress achieved in the field of gender equality in Europe and in developing countries";
5. the common declaration adopted on 4 February 2005 by the EU ministers responsible for gender equality policies as the basis for future European strategies;
6. the political declaration, adopted on 4 March 2005, during the 49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2000, which reaffirms the Declaration and Platform of Action of Beijing,
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
1. ACKNOWLEDGES the conclusions of the report of the Luxembourg Presidency on "Progress made within the EU" following the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome of the Presidency conference on the Review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action held on 2 and 3 February 2005 in Luxembourg;
2. WELCOMES the declaration adopted on 4 February 2005 in Luxembourg by the ministers of the EU Member States responsible for gender equality policy, as a part of the review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing + 10) and the outcome documents of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations held in 2000;
3. WELCOMES the political declaration adopted by the UN Member States on 4 March 2005 during the 49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York;
4. REAFFIRMS its strong support for, and commitment to, the full implementation of the goals and objectives set and the commitments made in the Declaration and Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women, the Beijing + 5 Political Declaration and Outcome Document of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations;
5. REAFFIRMS the commitment to the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment, including through development cooperation and partnership, and recognises that gender equality and women’s empowerment are of fundamental importance for the achievement of sustainable development and the eradication of poverty;
6. EMPHASISES the need to take concrete steps both to implement gender mainstreaming and in support of specific actions to achieve gender equality;
7. ENCOURAGES Member States and the Commission to develop methods and tools for gender mainstreaming, such as gender budgeting, gender audit and gender impact assessment as a priority for the future and to further develop gender expertise and gender training;
8. UNDERLINES the importance of enhanced dialogue and cooperation with civil society and the social partners;
9. INVITES Member States and the Commission, in connection with activities under the programme for equality between women and men, the work of the future European Institute for Gender Equality and other Community activities, to continue to focus on the critical areas of concern mentioned in the Beijing Platform for Action;
10. INVITES Member States and the Commission to support, encourage and disseminate research; to continue to improve the collection and compilation of timely, reliable, comparable data disaggregated by sex on the multiple factors that affect the full enjoyment by women of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including their right to development, and on violations that are particular to women and girls; to disseminate the findings and to use data thus collected to set time-bound targets and to assess the implementation of the human rights of women;
11. INVITES Member States and the Commission to strengthen institutional mechanisms and to create a framework to assess the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in order to create a more consistent and systematic monitoring of progress;
12. INVITES the Commission to include the assessment of relevant indicators, developed for the follow-up of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, in its annual report to the Spring European Council;
13. CONFIRMS the mission of the high-level group on gender-mainstreaming established by the Commission to follow up the Beijing Platform for Action in the Council and to ensure gender mainstreaming in Council formations;
14. STRESSES the importance of strengthening the link between the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Cairo Programme of Action, the Copenhagen Declaration and Action Programme, the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals and emphasises the need to adopt, at European level, a coherent approach towards these different objectives which are reinforced mutually;
15. URGES the Member States and the Commission to ensure that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Cairo Programme of Action are fully integrated into the preparation for, and the outcome of, the Millennium Summit in September 2005. Moreover, a gender perspective should be fully taken into account during the high-level review of the Millennium Declaration and integrated through the seven strategic priorities identified in the Millennium Projects in order to empower women and meet the Millennium Development Goals."
Pending receipt of the European Parliament's opinion, the Council held a policy debate on the proposal for a Regulation on medicinal products for paediatric use (13880/04) with a view to further examination of the text.
The debate focused on the following two questions:
During the debate, particular emphasis was placed on the importance of encouraging research in this field and improving access to paediatric medicines, in view of the need to produce medicines adapted to the specific physical and psychological characteristics of children.
The delegations recognised the incentive value of a measure extending the protection certificate. Some of them, however, wanted to discuss the proposal further, in particular the length of the extension and the date on which the impact of the mechanism would be reviewed, given the less positive effects that such a measure might also produce (e.g. delay in the placing on the market of generic medicines).
Delegations were generally in favour of making the results of clinical trials more widely available, as this would help to avoid unnecessary clinical trials, but further discussion was needed to establish, in particular, how widely available this would mean.
The proposal was drawn up further to the Council Resolution of December 2000, in which the Commission was invited to make proposals for the development of clinical research so that medicinal products fully adapted to the specific needs of children would be available on the EU market. It is estimated that 50-90% of medicinal products used in paediatric medicine have never been specifically studied or authorised for use in that age group.
The main objective of the proposal is to improve child health while removing obstacles to intracommunity trade in paediatric medicinal products.
The aims are as follows:
while avoiding unnecessary clinical trials on children.
To that end, the proposal contains a combination of obligations and incentives. The main obligation is that a paediatric investigation plan must be submitted as part of the procedure for obtaining market authorisation, while incentives are provided through the extension of exclusive rights and the introduction of a new type of market authorisation for generic medicines, the PUMA.
The proposed system covers medicinal products for human use within the meaning of the Directive on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use.
The proposal also introduces some amendments to the Regulation creating a supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products, the Directive on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use and the Regulation laying down procedures for the authorisation and supervision of medicinal products, all made in full compliance with the EU clinical trials Directive.
Proposed legal basis: Article 95 of the Treaty - co-decision procedure with the European Parliament and qualified majority required for a Council Decision.
The Council reached unanimous political agreement on a draft Regulation on nutritional and health claims which may be used in the labelling, presentation and advertising of foods.
The European Parliament delivered its opinion on 26 May 2005. The text of the draft Regulation will be formally adopted by the Council as a common position after finalisation in the official languages, then forwarded to the European Parliament for its second reading.
The food industry has responded to increased consumer interest in the information appearing on food labels by highlighting the nutritional value of products through claims in their commercial communication (labelling, presentation and advertising).
In order to avoid misleading consumers and to ensure the proper use of claims as a marketing tool, the draft Regulation intends to allow only claims which are clear and meaningful to the consumer, subject to certain conditions. The person marketing the food should be able to justify the use of the claim.
The draft Regulation covers foods to be delivered as such to the final customer or supplied to restaurants, hospitals, schools, canteens and other large-scale caterers.
The Commission has proposed (11646/03) Community harmonisation of rules in order to ensure a high level of consumer and public health protection, while removing obstacles to the proper functioning of the internal market and to the free movement of foods arising from the co-existence of different national laws.
Proposed legal basis: Article 95 of the Treaty - co-decision procedure with the European Parliament and qualified majority required for a Council Decision.
The Council reached political agreement, by a qualified majority, on a draft Regulation on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to food.
The European Parliament delivered its opinion at first reading on 26 May 2005. The text of the draft Regulation will be formally adopted by the Council as a common position after finalisation in the official languages, then forwarded to the European Parliament for its second reading.
The draft Regulation aims to harmonise the national rules on the addition of nutrients (vitamins, minerals and certain other substances) to food, while ensuring that foodstuffs on sale are safe and properly and clearly labelled so that consumers can make an informed choice, and that they do not present any risk for public health. Harmonisation was also deemed necessary to facilitate the free movement of these products within the Community. The text lists the vitamins and minerals that may be added to foods, as well as the forms and conditions in which they may be added.
The provisions of the draft Regulation do not apply to the food supplements covered by Directive 2002/46/EC and do not affect the specific provisions on foods for particular nutritional uses, novel foods and food ingredients, food additives and flavourings and authorised oenological processes.
Proposed legal basis: Article 95 of the Treaty - co-decision procedure with the European Parliament and qualified majority required for a Council Decision.
The Council held a debate on the health aspects of the proposal for a Decision establishing a programme of action in the field of health and consumer protection (2007-2013) (8064/05).
The proposal for a programme of Community action in the field of health and consumer protection 2007-2013 provides that the future actions of the EU in the field of Public Health will focus on five objectives:
The debate focused on whether these objectives corresponded to the expectations of the Health Ministers.
The debate gave delegations an opportunity to state their initial reactions to the Commission proposal which brings together, in a single integrated programme, the objectives pursued by the two public health and consumer protection programmes currently in place .
Delegations also stressed the need to enhance the added value of the common actions in this area, pointing, in particular, that it would be useful to improve cooperation between Member States' health systems and to improve the way in which cross-border health threats (pandemics) were addressed.
They also pointed to the need to deal with the risk factors in order to prevent major diseases.
Following the debate, the President concluded that these objectives were very broadly shared by the delegations.
Proposed legal basis: Articles 152 and 153 of the Treaty - co-decision procedure with the European Parliament and qualified majority required for a Council Decision.
The Council held an exchange of views on the problem of combating obesity, after which it adopted the following conclusions:
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
1. RECALLS that Article 152 of the Treaty states that a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Community policies and activities, and that Article 153 of the Treaty states that consumer protection requirements shall be taken into account in defining and implementing other Community policies and activities;
2. RECALLS that one of the objectives of the programme of Community action in the field of public health (2003-2008) is to promote health and prevent disease through addressing health determinants across all policies and activities, in particular by preparing and implementing strategies and measures, including those related to public awareness, on life-style related health determinants, such as nutrition, physical activity;
3. RECALLS the Council Resolution of 14 December 2000 on health and nutrition, the Conclusions of the Council and the Ministers for Health of the Member States, meeting within the Council on 15 May 1992, on nutrition and health, the Resolution of 3 December1990 concerning an action programme on nutrition and health, the Council Conclusions of 2 December 2002 on obesity, the Council Conclusions of 2 December 2003 on healthy lifestyles, as well as the Council Conclusions of 2 June 2004 on promoting heart health;
4. RECALLS the European Union's support for the adoption of the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health at the World Health Assembly of May 2004, and recognises the strength of the evidence contained in the report "Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases" which underpins the measures proposed in the Global Strategy;
5. RECOGNISES the major and growing contribution of unhealthy lifestyles to the burden of a significant number of chronic diseases;
6. RECOGNISES the potential which the promotion of healthy diets and physical activity has for reducing the risk for a number of diseases and conditions, such as obesity, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer and in addition considerably improving the quality of life;
7. RECOGNISES the beneficial effects of healthy diets and physical activity in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases with regard to both the citizens and the national health care systems;
8. NOTES WITH CONCERN the rise in obesity prevalence rates throughout the European Union, and particularly among children, as well as the negative consequences thereof for cardiovascular health and type 2 diabetes amongst others;
9. RECOGNISES the importance of addressing inequalities that may exist within Member States regarding obesity, diet and physical activity;
10. RECOGNISES that obesity is a multi-causal condition which requires a comprehensive preventive approach, including multi-stakeholder efforts at local, regional, national, European and global levels;
11. RECOGNISES that it is necessary to ensure the involvement of all stakeholders in order to build up social awareness for the importance of healthy diets and physical activity, particularly with regard to children, and to counteract misleading forms of advertising;
12. WELCOMES the recent launch by the Commission of the European Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health as an important step forward in this regard, which is expected to contribute to pursuing healthy nutrition and physical activities and to halting current obesity trends through determined action by the stakeholders represented in the Platform, and ENCOURAGES Member States to launch as appropriate initiatives within the context of their overall national strategy and to work in synergy with the European Platform;
13. STRESSES the importance of strengthening links between efforts to promote healthy diets and physical activity and other Community policies, such as the agriculture, transport, environment, culture, education and consumer policy areas. Whenever new or revised Community legislation with an impact on nutrition and physical activity is prepared, synergies should be sought with the objectives pursued through health policy measures. Moreover, addressing the obesity epidemic and promoting healthy diets and physical activity should be mainstreamed into the agenda of other relevant Councils;
14. RECOGNISES that physical activity is considered to be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and that learning to enjoy sport and physical activity at school and during leisure time, as well as starting education about healthy living at an early age is of utmost importance;
15. WELCOMES in this context the Commission's intention to present a Green Paper on nutrition, physical activity and health later this year, and to prepare for 2006 a Commission Communication integrating the results of the public consultation exercise initiated with the Green Paper;
16. CALLS UPON the Member States and, where appropriate, the European Commission to conceive and implement initiatives aimed at promoting healthy diets and physical activity, including:
(1) enabling citizens to make healthy dietary choices, and ensuring that healthy dietary options are available, affordable and accessible;
(2) fostering citizens' knowledge on the relationship between diet and health, energy intake and output, on diets that lower risk of chronic diseases, and on healthy choices of food items;
(3) ensuring that consumers are not misled by advertising, marketing and promotion activities, and that especially the credulity of children and their limited experience with the media is not exploited;
(4) enabling health professionals, including dietary experts, as well as other professionals having a recognised qualification in this field, to give, on a routine basis, practical advice to patients and families on the benefits of optimal diets and increased levels of physical activity, as well as contribute to the exchange of best practices in this field;
(5) encouraging stakeholders who are in a position to support the promotion of healthy diets (e.g. food producers, food processors, retailers, caterers) to take initiatives to this end, for example through voluntary action or agreements;
(6) mainstreaming of nutrition and physical activity into all relevant policies at local, regional, national and European levels, such as policies aimed at reducing the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption, as well as creating the necessary supporting environments;
(7) monitoring the trends of healthy nutrition and physical activity in the population and further developing research and the scientific basis for actions in the field through, amongst others, the exchange of best practices at European level;
(8) fostering education on, and the supply of healthy dietary choices at schools, especially with respect to the excessive intake of energy-dense snacks and sugar-sweetened soft drinks, and encouraging children and adolescents to exercise on a regular daily basis;
(9) developing nutrition and physical education activities for children as an integrated part of health education in general, which should also focus on issues like combating smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or the use of drugs, as well as promoting sexual health and mental health;
(10) encouraging employers to offer healthy choices at workplace canteens, and to provide as appropriate facilities which encourage the practice of physical activity, and
(11) fostering the development of urban environments that are conducive to physical activity, including the provision of safe cycling and walking paths."
The Council adopted the following conclusions on combating HIV/AIDS:
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
1. RECALLS the Declaration of Commitments on HIV/AIDS adopted by the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS on 27 June 2001 signalling the emergence of a response needed to be successful in the fight against HIV/AIDS;
2. RECALLS the Council Recommendation of 18 June 2003 on the prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug dependence, underlining the need for Member States to make available a range of different services and facilities, in order to reduce substantially the incidence of drug-related health damage;
3. REAFFIRMS the importance of the Conference "Breaking the Barriers – Partnership to fight HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia" (Dublin, Ireland, 23-24 February 2004) in highlighting the threat posed by the rise of HIV/AIDS;
4. RECALLS in this respect the request expressed in the Dublin "Declaration on Partnership to fight HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia" to strengthen the capacity of the European Union to fight effectively the spread of HIV/AIDS;
5. WELCOMES the "Vilnius Declaration" as an outcome of the Ministerial Conference "Europe and HIV/AIDS – New challenges, New Opportunities" (Vilnius, Lithuania, 17 September 2004) highlighting the need for joint efforts to strengthen comprehensive prevention activities, including human capacity building and sustainable health care infrastructures, to provide universal access to care, support, and treatment , and to build effective partnerships between governments, civil society, private sector, and other international partners; moreover, recognising that in the European region the most vulnerable populations include drug injectors and their sexual partners, men who have sex with men, sex-workers, trafficked women, prisoners, ethnic minorities and migrant populations which have close links to high prevalence countries;
6. WELCOMES the Commission working paper of 8 September 2004 "Coordinated and integrated approach to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic within the European Union and in its neighbourhood";
7. WELCOMES the Commission Communication of 29 October 2004 to the Council and the European Parliament on a Coherent European Policy Framework for External Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis and ACKNOWLEDGES the Council Conclusions of 23 November 2004 which endorsed this Communication and urged, amongst others, the Commission and Member States to ensure that sexual and reproductive health is an essential component of HIV and AIDS prevention;
8. RECALLS the Council Conclusions of 23 November 2004 on a Renewed EU Commitment to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in the context of the Millennium development goals (MDGs);
9. TAKES NOTE of the on-going exchange of best practices on prevention through information campaigns, access to antiretroviral treatment with special focus on injecting drug users and migrant populations, and the prevention of mother to child transmission, during the Extended HIV/AIDS Think Tank meeting (Luxembourg, 5-6 April 2005);
10. WELCOMES the guidance of the informal ministerial meeting "Health in Europe: protecting the health of European citizens" (Paris, 13-14 April 2005) on a European strategy and HIV vaccine research;
11. UNDERLINES that the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the related underlying phenomena fuelling the spread of the epidemic are common, cause human suffering and disability, increase the risk of social exclusion, and have negative implications for national economies;
12. RECOGNISES that, as well as continuing to strengthen existing methods to prevent the disease, there is a need to further develop research, surveillance, and methods for effective interventions, in order to tackle the multifaceted HIV/AIDS epidemic;
13. RECOGNISES that HIV/AIDS as well as other communicable disease epidemics are fuelled to a great extent by common root factors, such as inequality between women and men, poverty and social marginalisation of the most vulnerable populations;
14. RECOGNISES the need for addressing the variety of problems related to combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic by way of increased cooperation between the Commission, Member States, accession, candidate and neighbouring countries, and international organisations such as UN AIDS, with the participation of people living with HIV/AIDS and the civil society concerned;
15. NOTES that whilst the primary responsibility for health systems resides with the Member States, there is an added-value to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic both at a pan-European and at a global level, including through appropriate development policies.
INVITES the Member States to:
INVITES the Commission to:
These conclusions will be submitted to the June European Council together with the conclusions adopted by the Council (General Affairs and External Relations) on 24 May 2005.
The Council adopted the following conclusions on a Community Mental Health Action:
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
1. RECALLING the Council Resolution of 18 November 1999 on the promotion of mental health, which, inter alia, invited the Commission to consider incorporating activities on the theme of mental health in future action programmes for public health,
2. RECALLING the Council Resolution of 29 June 2000 on action on health determinants,
3. RECALLING the Council Conclusions of 5 June 2001 on a Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm which, inter alia, underlined the close link between alcohol abuse, social exclusion and mental illness,
4. RECALLING the Council Conclusions of 15 November 2001 on combating stress and depression-related problems, which, inter alia, invited Member States to take actions to improve knowledge on the promotion of mental health in primary care and other health services as well as in social services,
5. RECALLING the Council Conclusions of 2 June 2003 on combating stigma and discrimination in relation to mental illness which, inter alia, invited the Member States to give specific attention to the impact of stigma and discrimination related problems due to mental illness in all age groups, and ensure that these problems are recognised, giving special attention to the reduction of risks of social exclusion,
6. RECALLING the Council Conclusions of 2 June 2004 on alcohol harm reduction and young people which underlined that the burden of alcohol related avoidable death and suffering, in particular among young people, has become a common concern and that cooperation and coordination at Community level is needed,
7. RECALLING that the programme of Community action in the field of public health (2003-2008) is intended to contribute, inter alia, to ensuring a high level of human health protection in the definition and implementation of all Community policies and activities, through the promotion of an integrated and intersectoral health strategy, and to tackling inequalities in health and in mental health,
8. WELCOMES the outcome of the World Health Organisation European Ministerial Conference on Mental health Facing the Challenges, Building Solutions' held in Helsinki from 12 to 15 January 2005, which highlighted the importance of setting up an agenda and implementing an action plan for the Member States for the next five to ten years in the field of mental health, with a specific view on enhancing people's well-being and functioning by focusing on their strengths and resources, reinforcing resilience and enhancing protective external factors,
9. WELCOMES the declaration and the Action Plan of the Conference endorsed by ministers of health of the Member States of the World Health Organisation European Region in response to the challenges of the next five to ten years to develop, implement and evaluate policies and legislation that will deliver mental health activities capable of improving the well-being of the whole population,
10. RECOGNISES the important links between actions on mental health and the Communication of the Commission on the social agenda especially in the direction of promoting a strategic approach to combating discrimination as well as on promoting equality between men and women,
11. UNDERLINES the necessity of a wider recognition of the far-reaching social, economic and structural elements embedded in mental health, contributing significantly to the social capital of nations, as well as the need for searching for synergies between the Action plan and the results of the projects funded from the present and future Public Health Programmes of the Community,
12. REITERATES that there is a need to enhance the visibility and public awareness of, on the one hand, the importance of mental health to everybody and, on the other hand, the specific role and benefits to be gained by designing and implementing valid and comprehensive mental health policies,
13. CONSIDERS that mental health needs to be further developed as an integral element of the present and the next health strategy of the Community,
14. WELCOMES the Commission's intention to present in summer 2005 a Green paper on mental health, proposing options for action at Community level and in Member States in the fields of mental health information, mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention with a view to establishing an agreed framework for action and monitoring.
INVITES the Member States to:
INVITES the Commission to:
The Council also received information from the Presidency and the Commission on the following items:
OTHER ITEMS APPROVED
 Directive 2003/88/EC concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time (OJ L 299, of 18.11.2003, p. 9) provides for derogations from Articles 3, 4, 5, 8 and 16 for persons working in the rail transport sector on board trains.
 Three years after the date of entry into force of the Directive.
 The European Parliament nevertheless adopted an own-initiative resolution on 26 May 2005 (B6-0319/2005).
 The Council had arrived at a general approach on each of these draft Regulations on 4 October 2004 (Press Release 12400/04).
 Regulation (EC) No 2064/94 (OJ L 216, 20.8.1994, p. 1), amended by Regulation (EC) No 1654/2003 (OJ L 245, 29.9.2003, p. 38).
 Regulation (EEC) No 1365/75 (OJ L 139, 30.5.1975, p. 1), amended by Regulation (EC) No 1649/2003 (OJ L 245, 29.9.2003, p. 25).
 OJ L 299, 18.11.2003, p. 9.
 SIMAP and Jaeger Cases.
 The Commission has proposed 6 months.
 See Press Release 14517/00.
 Regulation (EEC) No 1768/92 (OJ L 182, 2.7.1992, p. 1), as last amended by the Act of Accession 2003.
 Directive 2001/83/EC (OJ L 311 , 28.11.2001, p.67), as last amended by Directive 2004/27/EC (OJ L 136, 30.4.2004, p. 34).
 Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 (OJ L 136, 30.4.2004, p. 1).
 Directive 2001/20/EC (OJ L 121, 1.5.2001, p. 34).
 A claim is a message stating, suggesting or implying that a food has particular characteristics; a health claim is a claim stating, suggesting or implying that a relationship exists between a food and health; a nutrition claim is a claim which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular nutrition properties due to its caloric value or its nutrients (e.g. "low in fat", "rich in vitamin C", "high in protein").
 Denmark stated its intention to vote against when this Regulation is adopted.
 OJ L 183, 12.7.2002, p. 51.
 Decisions Nos 786/2002/EC (OJ L 271, 9.10.2002, p. 1) and 20/2004/EC (OJ L 5, 9.1.2004, p. 1), as amended by Decision No 786/2004/EC (OJ L 138, 30.4.2004, p. 7).
 OJ C 20, 23.1.2001, p. 1.
 OJ C 148, 12.6.1992, p. 2.
 OJ C 329, 31.12.1990, p. 1.
 OJ C 11, 17.1.2003, p. 3.
 OJ C 22, 27.1.2004, p. 1.
 "Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases", Report of a joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation, WHO Technical Report Series 916, 2003.
 OJ L 165, 3.7.2003, p. 31.
 OJ C 86, 24.3.2000, p. 1.
 OJ C 218, 31.7.2000, p. 8.
 OJ C 175, 20.6.2001, p. 1.
 OJ C 6, 9.1.2002, p. 1.
 OJ C 141, 17.6.2003, p. 1.
 OJ L 271, 9.10.2002, p. 1.
 COM (2005) 33 final, 9.2.2005.