18 Mar

A videoconference of EU health ministers took place on 16 March 2021, during which ministers exchanged views on the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, published by the European Commission on 3 February.

In her contribution, Ildikó Horváth, Secretary of State for Health, emphasized that prevention has a key role to play in the sustainability of the cancer plan. Therefore, Hungary would support an ambitious programme to make Europe tobacco- and nicotine-free. The Secretary of State asked the Commission to consider the introduction of a Europe-wide plan on packaging and restrictions on the use of flavouring as well as limitations on nicotine content also in case of new generation products. The European Cancer Plan should take into account the different starting points of Member States, by agreeing in advance on a common methodology for data collection.

The Secretary of State also stressed that the Hungarian government is committed to the fight against cancer and especially to early diagnosis. She pointed out that Hungary has been operating a National Cancer Control Programme since 1993, and in 2018 we established the Central European Academy of Oncology to initiate international cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries. We consider it an important result, that the HPV vaccination of the respective target group is 82%.

She also called attention to ensure equal participation of researchers from Central and Eastern Europe in research.

Finally, the Secretary of State emphasized that we support initiatives at EU level in this area, as Europe can only succeed together.

At the meeting, the ministers took an overview of the actual pandemic situation and agreed on the necessity of maintaining public health measures, until sufficient population immunity is achieved.