Developments on German EU Council Presidency


The presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU Council), the EU institution gathering the government ministers from each EU country, rotates among the EU member states every 6 months. During this 6-month period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU's work in the Council. More importantly, the presidency is responsible for driving forward the Council's work on EU legislation, ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda, orderly legislative processes and cooperation among member states.

In this regard we would like to provide you with an update on the preparations of the Federal Health Ministry regarding the up-coming German EU Council Presidency in July 2020 as this is an essential EU decision-making role.

The Federal Health Ministry will focus on digitalization, artificial intelligence and big data. In this regard, an informal meeting of the EU Health Ministers will take place in July, focusing on questions regarding data collection and improvement of data exchange. Following this, in November a High-Level Forum is planned. This forum is expected to spot the light on the use of big data in order to bundle resources in treatment of cancer and rare diseases.

Besides this, the following topics are on the agenda:

  • Drug policies (licit/illicit drugs)
  • Pediatric pharmaceuticals (no further explanations provided)
  • Regulation on veterinary medicinal products (no further explanations provided)
  • Revision of the blood directive (legislative actions, depending on the Commission)
  • HTA directive (legislative actions, depending on the Commission)
  • Directive on medical devices (legislative actions, depending on the Commission)

With regard to the trio presidency together with Portugal and Slovenia, strengthening the EU’s role in global health will be a focus.

Following the letter of the Federal Health Ministry, the insights of the meeting provide further information on the preliminary agenda of the Ministry for the Council Presidency. Topics are still broad and information on specific projects and problems to be tackled are missing. Nevertheless, the meeting gives deeper insights which topics besides digitalization are already of interest for the Ministry and which topics are not included yet (or are not communicated).

Since preparations are at the early beginning, and the Ministry is interested in including stakeholders’ views and ideas (participative approach), it is still possible to raise awareness about topics not yet mentioned by the Ministry, as well as specific interests linked to the above-mentioned topics. Therefore, this could lead to shifts in the agenda.

This autumn, the Federal Health Ministry will report to the Health Committee in the German Bundestag. MPs will have the chance to address questions.

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