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Cross-border health threats call for cooperation across borders

22-06-2012 13:37:00

Many serious health threats - like for instance antimicrobial resistance - do not respect borders therefore we have to work together across EU’s borders, says Ms. Astrid Krag, Danish Minister for Health.

Photo: Council of the European Union
EPSCO council meeting

Responding to cross-border health threats was the recurring theme of the Council Meeting on Health today.

The Health Ministers showed commitment to continue and strengthen the fight against antimicrobial resistance which is a serious and increasing problem in the EU and the rest of the world. Every year 25,000 European citizens die due to antimicrobial resistance. The Ministers agreed to draw attention to reducing the use of antibiotics and to more cooperation between the human and veterinary sectors.

The Ministers also discussed the Commission’s Health Security Initiative from December last year regarding how to cooperate at EU level when responding to future flu pandemics, outbreaks of E.coli or other cross-border health threats. During the lunch Ministers discussed the possibilities for joint procurement of vaccines or other medical countermeasures. The negotiations on the Health Security Initiative will continue under the Cyprus Presidency.

Furthermore, the Council reached agreement on the new Health Programme for 2014-2020.

Minister for Health, Astrid Krag, states:

"Many serious health threats - like for instance antimicrobial resistance - do not respect borders .If we are to tackle such health threats – and it goes without saying that we must do that – we have to work together across EU’s borders. At the Council Meeting today my colleagues, the EU Health Ministers, and I expressed our great intentions to ensure a well-functioning cooperation in this area. I am very happy about the support for the council conclusions on antimicrobial resistance, and I trust that the progress made today on the Commission’s Health Security Initiative will bring us forward towards better cooperation in responding to threats against EU citizens’ health".

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