Health ministers adopt new public health programme

Health ministers adopt common position on new Community action programme for public health and issue recommendation on alcohol

The six-year programme will focus on improving health information and knowledge, enhancing the capability to respond rapidly to health threats, and addressing health determinants. The programme will replace eight existing Community action programmes, such as health promotion, information, education and training.

Furthermore, a European health forum will be set up to allow those involved in the public health sector to be involved in the development of health policy and ensure that public health concerns are fully addressed. The new programme is seen as a complement to national policies. A total of 280 million euro has been assigned to this programme.

In addition, ministers adopted proposals to counter underage drinking through tougher enforcement of laws on alcohol sales and self-regulation by advertisers. They agreed to increase information campaigns to educate young people about the dangers of drinking and to work with industry on codes of conduct to ensure alcoholic beverages are not designed or promoted to appeal to children.


European Union health ministers, who met on 5 June, adopted a common position on the new Community action programme on public health (2001-2006). The ministers also issued a recommendation on young people and alcohol and proposed a future common strategy on alcohol. Commissioner Byrne presented to the Council the state of negotiations on tobacco at the WHO.


The Commission presented their initial proposal on a Community action programme on public health over the 2001-2006 period with a budget of 300 million euro on 16 May 2001.

The European Parliament's (EP) Environment, Public Health and Consumers Committee adopted the report by Antonios Trakatellis which called for the budget to increase to 500 million euro. The committee criticised the lack of a coordinating centre and proposed that a European Health Coordination and Monitoring Centre (EHCMC) be set up. In its first reading, on 4 March 2001, the EP adopted the report that aimed to increase the Commission's initial budget proposal from 300 to 380 million euro.


The common position on the new Community action programme will now be the subject of a second reading at the European Parliament, in accordance with the co-decision procedure of the Treaty. A conciliation procedure may be necessary since the text is far from what MEPs had hoped for.


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