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CED EU INFO 2015/02

Issue 2 - May 2015



European Commission adopts Better Regulation package

On 19 May, the European Commission adopted a package of documents focused on Better Regulation, a priority of the Juncker Commission. The package includes changes to how the Commission consults stakeholders, proposal for a new Regulatory Scrutiny Board, more impact assessments throughout the legislative cycle and a proposal for a new agreement with the Parliament and the Council on better law-making. The proposals come after a period of criticisms by stakeholders about the Commission's apparent focus on deregulation and industrial competitiveness at the expense of areas such as health, environment and social standards, and have yet to be scrutinized.   Read more

Health Commissioner announces focus on prevention

Addressing the EU Health Policy Forum on 19 March, European Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis announced his intention to focus on four priorities within EU health policy: prevention, promotion, protection and (stakeholder) participation, with the ultimate goal of reducing the burden of chronic diseases. Starting in 2016, he hoped to present an annual State of Health in EU report to the European Parliament, containing health and health policy indicators. He stressed the importance if adherence to the Health in All Policies approach, both at EU and national level.   Read more

BPA exposure from dental materials "negligible risk"

On 27 February, the European Commission and SCENIHR published the Final Opinion on the safety of the use of bisphenol A in medical devices. Such medical devices include implants, catheters, and dental devices. SCENIHR concluded that “Long-term oral exposure to BPA via dental material is below the t-TDI of 4μg/kg b.w./day, thus posing a negligible risk for human health. (…)”. SCENIHR concludes that the risk for adverse effects of BPA may exist when the BPA is directly available for systemic exposure after non-oral exposure routes,especially for neonates in intensive care units, infants undergoing prolonged medical procedures and for dialysis patients." Read more

Dental amalgam safe for restorative treatment

On 8 May, the European Commission and SCENIHR published the Final opinion on the safety of dental amalgam and alternative dental restoration materials for patients and users. SCENIHR concludes that current evidence does not preclude the use of either amalgam or alternative materials in dental restorative treatment. The choice of material should be based on patient characteristics such as primary or permanent teeth, pregnancy, the presence of allergies to mercury or other components of restorative materials, and the presence of impaired renal clearance. Read more

European Professional Card - what's new?

The Commission is still discussing with Member States the implementing act that will introduce the European Professional Card (EPC) and the professions that will benefit from it. In February, the Commission’s proposal for an implementing act on EPC was rejected by a blocking minority of Member States who had many comments to the draft proposal and doubts on which professions should be included in the scheme. Some Member States seemed hesitant to include pharmacists in the first phase. The Commission is now addressing Member States concerns and preparing a new proposal.

€1 million prize for a diagnostic test to combat antibiotic resistance

On 26 February, the European Commission announced the award of €1 million prize to the person or team that develops a rapid test to tell whether a patient needs to be treated with antibiotics or not. The aim is to stop the overuse of antibiotics and halt the growing resistance of micro-organisms to them that causes 25 000 deaths and over €1.5 billion in healthcare expenses and productivity losses every year in Europe alone. Read more

Progress report on antimicrobial resistance

On 26 February, the European Commission published a progress report on its five year Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The report summarises the progress made under each of the 12 actions. Also that day, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published a joint Annual EU Summary Report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food. Read more

European Parliament adopts report on patient safety and antimicrobial resistance

On 19 May, the European Parliament adopted the report on 'Safer healthcare in Europe: improving patient safety and fighting antimicrobial resistance'. MEPs noted that between 8 and 12 % of patients admitted to hospitals in the EU suffer adverse events such as healthcare associated infections, placing a heavy burden on limited healthcare budgets. The adopted report suggests measures to improve patient safety for instance by tackling growing resistance to human and veterinary antibiotics by using existing treatments more responsibly and promoting innovation.

Light at the end of the tunnel on data protection

Rumours are circulating that the Council will finally reach a general approach at its next meeting on 15-16 June with regards to the General Data Protection Regulation, and that it will be the Luxembourg Presidency that will get the mandate to engage in informal trialogues with the European Parliament. Pressure is high to conclude trilogues before the end of the year. Read more

Parliamentary question on cross-border healthcare

On 3 March, in a reply to a parliamentary question on cross-border healthcare from MEP Nicola Caputo (S&D, Italy), Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, informed about the Commission’s ongoing work with regards Directive 2011/24/EU on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare. The Commission is currently monitoring the transposition of this Directive into the Member States' legislation and will provide a report about its implementation to the European Parliament and the Council in late 2015. The Commissioner added that the Commission will engage in 2015 in a dialogue with Member States and stakeholders on the best ways to take forward the patient safety and quality of care agenda in the EU. He concluded by clarifying that no further harmonisation was envisaged in connection to patients' rights. See parliamentary question and answer.

Workshop on Commission’s study on recruitment and retention

On 10-11 March, the final workshop of the European Commission study on effective health workforce recruitment & retention strategies in the EU took place in Leuven, Belgium.

The event, organised by EHMA in collaboration with Catholic University Leuven, Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, King's College London, and Royal Tropical Institute, aimed to share the final findings and recommendations from the study, and to explore how to build consensus and create alignments to tackle recruitment and retention issues. The results are intended to contribute to the implementation of the Action Plan for the EU health workforce and to ongoing workforce planning and forecasting at national level. The final report is to be released before the summer break. Further information is available here.

Health Ministers discuss future health sector challenges

The EU Health Ministers met on 20-21 April in Riga to discuss future health sector challenges. The Ministers discussed the need for a new framework for EU alcohol policy and the challenges for nutrition policy in the EU.

More information can be found here.

Endocrine disruptors parliamentary debate

During the 9 March European Parliament Plenary sitting, a heated debate took place about endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). An oral question to the Commission tabled by a group of 64 MEPs, led by Italian Socialist Nicola Caputo, which quoted an article that appeared in the Guardian newspaper in February claiming that 31 endocrine-disrupting pesticides could have already been banned on health grounds, if the promise to define EDC criteria by the end of 2013 had been met. Read more

EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020

The EU Council adopted on 9 March conclusions on EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020. The conclusions follow the European Commission's Communication published in 2014. They confirm that the two institutions agree to improve the implementation of the existing occupational safety and health legislation, to prevent existing, new and emerging risks to health and safety at work and to address the challenges posed by an ageing workforce and longer professional careers.

More information can be found here.

Council conclusions on Single Market Policy

On 2 March, the Competitiveness Council adopted conclusions to provide guidance to the European Commission for the upcoming strategy for goods and services as well as the digital single market package, which the Commission presented on 6 May. The conclusions set out various actions aimed at removing unnecessary barriers in the single market. They urged Member States to engage fully with the mutual evaluation of regulated professions, inviting the Commission to consult in parallel stakeholders and professionals; welcomed the ongoing mapping of national services standards by CEN, which should identify areas where national standards might add to the fragmentation of the Single Market and discover topics with a potential for developing European service standards; and refer to mutual recognition clauses in several areas. The Council also discussed the wider use of digital tools and encouragement of digital entrepreneurship, as input for the upcoming digital single market strategy. See full conclusions.

Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe

On 6 May, the European Commission published a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe. The Strategy includes a set of targeted actions to be delivered by the end of 2016 and is built on three pillars. The first pillar refers to better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe. The second one aims at creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish. The last pillar focuses on maximising growth potential of the digital economy. The three pillars contain sixteen actions to be carried out by the Commission by the end of 2016.

For more information, please click here.

TTIP negotiations delayed

Initially scheduled for 7 May, INTA Committee's vote to the draft report by the chair, Bernd Lange was postponed to 28 May. As a result, the vote by the Plenary will most likely be in June. The International Trade Committee (INTA) is taking the lead in drafting the European Parliament's recommendations for the TTIP. Almost 900 amendments were proposed to the draft report and fifteen Committees have issued opinions on TTIP (available on the EP website). Read more


Media Campaign 'medsdisposal - easier than you think'

The CED is involved in the preparations for a social media campaign on appropriate personal medication disposal. The official launch of the joint social media campaign "medsdisposal - easier than you think" is planned for 4 June. Read more

Endocrine Disruptors Conference

The European Commission is organising a one-day conference in Brussels on 1 June on the impact assessment on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors in the context of the Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 and the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) 528/2012. Read more

For more information contact:
CED Brussels Office
Tel: + 32 2 736 34 29

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