Minister for Health Meets EU partners to Discuss COVID-19 response and Wider Health Cooperation
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, today attended a meeting of EU Health Ministers in Luxembourg to discuss the European response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a wide range of cooperation in other health areas. The meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) Council was the first physical meeting held since March 2020.
Ministers discussed the ongoing pandemic and the response at national and EU level. The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) updated Ministers on the latest developments. The Ministers also considered the approach to travel, in particular the EU Digital Covid Certificate.
Minister Donnelly said, “Ireland will coordinate closely with EU partners to facilitate free movement through the rollout of the Digital Covid Certificate and intends to broadly align itself with the EU approach to non-essential travel into the EU from third countries.”
Minister Donnelly recalled the importance of monitoring evidence in relation to variants and underlined the need to ensure variant-adjusted vaccine doses are made available to citizens.
The Minister also recognised the strong moral leadership shown by Europe in relation to global solidarity.
Ministers were informed of the status of the legislative proposals under the European Health Union package, which will strengthen the roles of the ECDC and the EMA in crisis preparedness and revise the overall approach to serious cross-border threats to health in the EU.
Beyond pandemic preparedness and response, the Ministers also approved Council Conclusions dealing with accessibility, availability and affordability of medicines and medical devices. Ministers also discussed Digital Health cooperation and the EU’s role in global health.