1 Dec

On November 30, 2023, the Council meeting of the European Union's Health Ministers (EPSCO) took place in Brussels. The meeting was chaired by Spanish Health Minister Mónica García. From the European Commission by Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety attended the meeting.

Delegations exchanged views on how to strengthen the European Union's strategic autonomy in healthcare in order to avoid, on the short and long-term, shortages of medicines and medical devices. There was an agreement that the measures outlined in the Commission's October communication on addressing drug shortages could mark progress in ensuring supply security. From Hungarian side it was underlined that Hungary also supports a joint European approach based on the cooperation of member states. The Hungarian Medicines Authority actively participates in solidarity and forecasting mechanisms coordinated by the European Medicines Agency and remains open to joint procurements that consider the real needs of Member States. We referred to the EU pharmaceutical package's legislative proposals also include several measures supporting supply security.

The Member States adopted the Council Conclusions on mental health. They were then briefed on ongoing legislative matters, including the European Health Data Space, substances of human origin, fees payable to the European Medicines Agency, and the negotiations of the Pandemic Treaty. On the initiative of Malta, several countries, including Hungary, called for European-level action on the health consequences of climate change. The Hungarian delegation referred to the 7th WHO European ministerial conference on environment and health where the Budapest Declaration was adopted with the support of all EU Member States. On Belgium's initiative, Member States expressed their willingness to cooperate in evacuating injured persons from the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, ministers reviewed the implementation of medical device regulations, opportunities to expand knowledge about the long-term consequences of COVID, next steps for cooperation in genomics, and finally they received updates on the Spanish presidency conference and Belgian presidency plans.

During the informal lunch, delegations shared information on their national actions against childhood obesity and expressed support for a new European action plan.