Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, 15-16/06/2017
Health issues - 16 June
The Council adopted conclusions calling on member states to tackle childhood obesity by addressing both the lack of physical activity and unhealthy diets. EU countries are invited to promote physical activity in schools and leisure clubs. They should also reduce the advertising and sponsorship of sugary and fatty foods targeted at children and adolescents.
"Childhood obesity is an increasingly widespread health challenge that has to be taken very seriously. Overweight persons have an increased risk of diabetes, asthma, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. What makes it worse is that overweight children are the overweight adults of tomorrow. It is therefore important to take early action".Chris Fearne, the Maltese Health Minister and President of the Council
Voluntary co-operation between health systems
The Council also adopted conclusions encouraging a voluntary cooperation between Member States' health systems. This could result in better outcomes for patients and health care professionals and increase the efficiency of health systems.
Voluntary cooperation can help improve patients' access to treatment, in particular those patients suffering from rare diseases. It may increase expertise within member states and access to innovative health technologies.
It was agreed that the exchange of information on national pricing and reimbursement policies and sharing of information on pricing agreements on pharmaceutical products could improve transparency and member states' leverage in negotiations with industry, and might make medicinal products more accessible.
European pillar of social rights
EU health minsters welcomed the Commission's proposal for a European pillar of social rights. They agreed with the objective of providing timely access to affordable, preventive and curative health care of good quality, provided that member states' competencies in health policy are respected. Ministers emphasised the importance of taking into account different national traditions and specificities when selecting indicators for member states' health systems.
Employment and Social Policy issues - 15 June
The Council discussed the European Semester 2017 and approved the employment and social policy aspects of the country specific recommendations. The overall objective of the 2017-2018 recommendations is to deliver more jobs and faster growth, whilst taking better account of social fairness.
The Council reached a general approach on a directive which seeks to protect workers against carcinogenic substances in the work place.
"With this agreement, we can better protect millions of EU workers from cancer-causing chemical substances in the work place. This is particularly important given that cancer is the first cause of work-related deaths in the EU."Helena Dalli, Minister for EU affairs and equality, President of the Council
The Presidency informed the Council about the outcome of the lunch debate on the European Pillar of social rights. The core element of the Pillar is a set of 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems.
The Council took note of progress regarding the posting of workers directive, which aims at ensuring a level playing field for service providers whilst at the same time protecting posted workers.
It took note of progress on the directive regarding the accessibility of certain products and services for persons with disabilities, and on revised regulations on the coordination of social security systems.
It also took note of progress on directives on equal treatment and on women on company boards.
The Council adopted conclusions on "Making work-pay strategies" and on the European Court of Auditors' report entitled "Youth unemployment - have EU policies made a difference? An assessment of the youth guarantee and the youth employment initiative".
- Meeting n°3548
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