Prague – A two-day informal meeting of health ministers of the European Union begins tonight in Prague. On Wednesday, they have a debate on plans to fight cancer or rare diseases or the effects of the war in Ukraine on healthcare. The negotiations will include a meeting of representatives of EU countries with manufacturers of vaccines against covid-19 about contract changes and future orders. Tonight, the event, which is part of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU, will begin with a gala dinner of ministers and other guests in the Rudolfinum.
In February 2021, the European Commission presented the European Plan to Fight Cancer, which directs significant financial resources to the prevention, research and treatment of cancer. One of the goals of the Czech presidency is its further elaboration into concrete plans. Ministers will be invited to confirm this intention at the meeting.
The Czechia also wants to initiate the creation of a similar plan for rare diseases. In the future, EU countries could jointly purchase medicines for patients with diseases that affect less than five people out of ten thousand, which would increase their availability to European patients.
On Wednesday, the ministers will also deal with vaccination as a prevention of many serious infections, not only covid-19. They will discuss the declining vaccination rate, support for research and production of vaccines or communications. As a presiding country, the Czechia also proposes to the Union a mechanism by which the EU states should coordinate their positions vis-à-vis the World Health Organization (WHO) or the UN, so that they act unitedly.
Ukrainian Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko will join the meeting online. In addition to the provision of health care to refugees from Ukraine in European countries, the provision of continuity of care after their return to their homeland will be addressed. It will also be discussed the approximation of the requirements for the education of doctors and nurses, their education from Ukraine is currently difficult to recognize.
The steering committee of the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) will meet with vaccine manufacturers on Wednesday afternoon. The negotiations, formally led by the European Commission, began in July. A key debate will be on modifying existing contracts so that states do not have to pay for and then dispose of vaccines they do not use.
EU diplomacy health presidency