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As part of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, on 1 January 2017, Malta took over the Presidency. In the Council government ministers from each EU Member State meet to discuss, amend and adopt laws, and coordinate policies. The ministers have the authority to commit their governments to the actions agreed on in the meetings. Together with the European Parliament, the Council is the main decision-making body of the EU. The Presidency of the Council rotates among the member states of the EU every six months. The Presidency's function is to chair meetings of the Council, determine its agendas, set a work programme and facilitate dialogue both at Council meetings and with other EU institutions. Malta’s Presidency will thus take place from 1 January 2017 until 30 June 2017. On 9 January, the Maltese Presidency has published their official programme.

Below some highlights from the programme that could be relevant for the Avicenna Alliance:

e-Health
The Maltese Presidency wishes to organize eHealth week 2017 together with the European Commission, the World Health organization and HIMSS Europe around the central theme “Data for Health” - The key to personalised sustainable care. eHealth Week 2017 will gather stakeholders from across the world to address international topics related to healthcare IT, such as cross-border exchange of personal health data and European Reference Networks.

The Maltese Presidency also intends to create an appropriate cross-border IT infrastructure that would facilitate the secure and efficient exchange of personal health data as well as other health-related information between authorised healthcare providers.

Key dates: 10-12 May - eHealth week, Malta

Digital Single Market
The Maltese Presidency is committed to making progress on the legislative dossiers issued under the Digital Single Market strategy, presented in May 2015. The Maltese Presidency also intends to take forward the discussions on the copyright reform.

Key dates

  • 29 May
    • Competitiveness Council
    • Copyright Package
    • Digital Single Market
  • 8/9 June
    • Justice and Home Affairs Council
    • Digital Agenda
    • Data Protection
  • 9 June -
    • Telecommunications Council
    • European Electronic Communications Code
    • European Regulators for Electronic Communications
    • Data localization
    • e-privacy
    • DSM Strategy
  • 14-16 June
    • Digital Assembly, Malta

Research and Innovation
The Maltese Presidency will also seek to strengthening Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation in Research and Innovation, through the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA). Malta’s role will be to ensure progress on the legislative deliberations on the PRIMA initiative.

Key dates

  • 21 February (possibly)
    • Competitiveness Council (Research)
  • 4 May
    • Ministerial Conference on Strengthening Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation through Research and Innovation
  • 30 May
    • Competitiveness Council (Research)
    • PRIMA

The official programme can be found here.