Conciliation agreement on new EU public health programme

On 8 May 2002, the conciliation committee of the European Parliament and the Council agreed on a new EU programme on public health which will replace the existing eight programmes.

The main issue that needed to be settled in conciliation was
funding. The EP delegation argued that the 280 million euros
originally proposed by the Council was insufficient, in particular
in the light of the costs of enlargement and the need for
precautionary measures against the risk of bioterrorism, and
demanded a budget of 380 million euros. A compromise was finally
reached with the Council, setting the budget at 312 million euros.

The Commission will draw up a declaration
stating that the financial framework of the programme will be
reviewed in the context of the accession of new Member States. The
Commission will then, if appropriate, make new proposals on
funding. In addition, the Commission issued a declaration on the
structural arrangements to be set up in order to implement the


The new programme, proposed by the Commission in May 2000,
will run for six years starting on 1 January 2003 (till end of
2008) with a budget of 312 million euro. The new programme will
streamline and reinforce EU action in the field of public health.
It moves away from the fragmented, disease-oriented approach of the
past as it unites the existing programmes in a single, integrated
horizontal scheme.

"EU actions will be refocused along three
strands: improving health information to citizens, professionals
and policymakers, strengthening the rapid response capacity for
coordinated reactions to major public health threats and targeting
actions to promote health and prevent disease", Health and Consumer
Protection Commissioner David Byrne explained.


The conciliation agreement will now be formally endorsed by
Parliament and Council, in order to officially adopt the programme.
The new health strategy will enter into force on 1 January 2003.

The Commission will review the financial
framework of the programme.


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