The European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has rejected the Commission proposal to merge the health and consumer protection programmes 2007-2013 under the same umbrella. The vote in the committee on 31 January 2006 was nearly unanimous, with 54 MEPs voting for the proposal amended by the rapporteur Antonio Trakatellis and one against.
The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) is set to vote on the proposal on 20 February 2006. It is highly likely that it will also reject the Commission's proposal and adopt an amended version by the rapporteur Marianne Thyssen.
The IMCO Committee's current draft acknowledges that consumer protection and health possess common features but states that "an amalgamated action programme weakens consumer protection as a policy area in its own right". The Committee underlines that "the level of support for consumer protection in the new member states is low, both as a concept and in terms of funding. An amalgamated action programme may aggravate these negative consequences further".
The Council can, technically, still merge the two programmes. However, as both the Parliament and the majority of the health and consumer stakeholders oppose the merger, it is unlikely that the Council will put the proposal back together.