Finns have heavy health agenda ahead

In addition to promoting ‘Health in all Policies’, the Finnish Presidency is expected to hammer out political agreements on Health programme 2007-2013, medical devices and advanced therapies.

The Finnish EU presidency’s overall objective in health policy is to promote the principle of Health in All Policies, as health is largely determined by factors outside the domain of health care and policies other than health have direct effects on health determinants. The ‘Health in All Policies’ approach is also meant to contribute to horizontal EU policies, such as the Lisbon strategy, and have positive effects on national economies through higher productivity and labour participation.

Accordingly, the main health policy event during the Finnish Presidency, a high-level expert conference on Health in All Policies, will take place on 20–21 September 2006. A book on Health in All Policies is set to be published end of August to serve as background material for the conference, which will consist of plenary sessions and thematic workshops on specific topics related to, for example, health inequalities, nutrition and physical activity, alcohol policies, and mental health and public policies. Council conclusions on the issue are expected on 30 November 2006.

The main EU legislative proposals on the table during the second half of the 2006 are the Health programme 2007-2013, the revision of legislation on medical devices and a proposal for a Directive on advanced therapies; on all of which the Council is expected to reach a political agreement on 30 November 2006.

The Commission will also publish, probably in September 2006, a communication on EU alcohol strategy, which will aim to reduce the health and social harm due to alcohol consumption.

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