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EU4Health programme

22-04-2021

On 28 May 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on a new health programme (EU4Health) for 2021 to 2027. Announced as part of the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery instrument, according to the Commission, the EU4Health programme is intended to boost the EU's preparedness for major cross-border health threats and improve health systems' resilience. EU4Health would be a stand-alone, dedicated funding programme with an originally proposed budget of €10.4 billion (in current ...

On 28 May 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on a new health programme (EU4Health) for 2021 to 2027. Announced as part of the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery instrument, according to the Commission, the EU4Health programme is intended to boost the EU's preparedness for major cross-border health threats and improve health systems' resilience. EU4Health would be a stand-alone, dedicated funding programme with an originally proposed budget of €10.4 billion (in current prices). However, during the negotiations on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and NGEU, the budget for EU4Health was revised downwards, with the July 2020 European Council conclusions allocating the programme €1.7 billion. On 14 December 2020, Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the programme, including a budget of €5.1 billion. Stakeholders had broadly welcomed the proposal, but generally regretted the European Council's reduction of the financial envelope allocated to it. The co-legislators' December agreement on an increased budget was thus positively received. After adoption by the Parliament and Council in March 2021, based on the text agreed in trilogue, the final act was signed by the presidents of the co-legislators on 24 March 2021. Regulation (EU) 2021/522 entered into force on 27 March 2021 and applies retroactively from 1 January 2021. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Alcohol labelling

20-04-2021

In its Europe's Beating Cancer plan, published in February 2021, the European Commission suggests – among other initiatives concerning cancer prevention – several actions concerning alcoholic beverages, such as limiting online advertising and promotion, and reviewing European Union (EU) legislation on the taxation of alcohol. Also among the proposals is mandatory labelling of ingredients and nutrient content on alcoholic beverages by the end of 2022. Health warnings on labels should follow by the ...

In its Europe's Beating Cancer plan, published in February 2021, the European Commission suggests – among other initiatives concerning cancer prevention – several actions concerning alcoholic beverages, such as limiting online advertising and promotion, and reviewing European Union (EU) legislation on the taxation of alcohol. Also among the proposals is mandatory labelling of ingredients and nutrient content on alcoholic beverages by the end of 2022. Health warnings on labels should follow by the end of 2023. Labelling of ingredients and nutritional values on alcoholic drinks already has a long history. First attempts to label ingredients were made in the late 1970s, resulting in the Council not being able to agree on any of the proposed models. Alcoholic drinks containing more than 1.2 % by volume of alcohol (ABV) are exempted from the obligation set on other drinks and foodstuffs, to list the ingredients and make a nutritional declaration on the label. The European Commission adopted a report in 2017, concluding that it had 'not found objective grounds that would justify' the absence of information on ingredients and nutritional information on alcoholic beverages. Following on from the Commission's report, the European associations representing the alcoholic beverages sectors presented their self-regulation proposal in March 2018, suggesting that some sectors would list all ingredients on labels, while others could use online means of communication instead. Stakeholders have differing views on the desirability and feasibility of such listings on-label; some would prefer this information to be allowed to be given off-label through QR-codes, apps or websites, while others absolutely insist that alcoholic drinks should be no different from other sectors of the food and drink industry. The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to consider a health warning and calorie content on alcoholic beverage labels.

Building up resilience to cross-border health threats: Moving towards a European health union

20-04-2021

On 11 November 2020, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation on serious cross-border threats to health. In the light of lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis, it aims to strengthen the EU's health security by revising Decision No 1082/2013/EU (the 'Cross-Border Health Threats Decision'). The proposal was presented in a package that also includes proposals to strengthen the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), ...

On 11 November 2020, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation on serious cross-border threats to health. In the light of lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis, it aims to strengthen the EU's health security by revising Decision No 1082/2013/EU (the 'Cross-Border Health Threats Decision'). The proposal was presented in a package that also includes proposals to strengthen the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as first steps towards a European health union. Stakeholders widely welcome the proposal and the package. Some say it could be improved further, suggesting concrete elements, while others think it should go beyond crisis preparedness. Still others consider it a springboard to a bigger role for the European Union (EU) in health. Parliament has repeatedly called for stronger cooperation on health, for a new regulation to replace the Cross-Border Health Threats Decision, and for revised mandates of both the ECDC and the EMA. Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety is responsible for the file and the rapporteur's draft report is expected to be presented in committee on 22 April 2021. In Council, work is ongoing in the working party on pharmaceuticals and medical devices. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Europe's Beating Cancer plan: Quick overview and initial reactions

24-03-2021

On 3 February 2021, the European Commission presented Europe's Beating Cancer plan, slightly delayed on account of the pandemic. The plan is a key European Union (EU) public health initiative and a cornerstone of the European health union process launched in November 2020. Responsibility for health lies primarily with the governments of the individual EU Member States. Europe's Beating Cancer plan sets out actions to support, coordinate or supplement Member States' efforts at every stage of the disease ...

On 3 February 2021, the European Commission presented Europe's Beating Cancer plan, slightly delayed on account of the pandemic. The plan is a key European Union (EU) public health initiative and a cornerstone of the European health union process launched in November 2020. Responsibility for health lies primarily with the governments of the individual EU Member States. Europe's Beating Cancer plan sets out actions to support, coordinate or supplement Member States' efforts at every stage of the disease: from prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, to an improved quality of life for cancer patients and survivors. Cross-cutting themes include research and innovation, digital and personalised medicine, and action to reduce cancer inequalities across the EU. A particular focus will be on childhood cancers. The plan consists of 10 flagship initiatives and 32 supporting actions, to be rolled out over the coming years. Implementation will be monitored by means of a roadmap and progress indicators, and the Commission will establish an EU cancer plan implementation group. With a €4 billion budget, the plan will make use of all available funding instruments, including the new EU4Health programme, Horizon Europe, and the Digital Europe programme. EU institutional actors and public and private stakeholders have widely commented on Europe's Beating Cancer plan. While non-governmental organisations and industry associations broadly welcome the plan and its ambition, some have criticised specific elements. The European Parliament's Special Committee on Cancer is working on an own-initiative report that will be Parliament's contribution to Europe's Beating Cancer plan. Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides has stressed that Parliament and its special committee has played an important role in shaping the plan, and will also be instrumental during its implementation.

EU4Health programme 2021-2027

03-03-2021

On 28 May 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on the establishment of a programme for the Union's action in the field of health for the 2021-2027 period (EU4Health programme). Interinstitutional negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council were concluded on 14 December 2020 with a provisional agreement on the programme, including a budget of €5.1 billion. Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety endorsed the final compromise ...

On 28 May 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on the establishment of a programme for the Union's action in the field of health for the 2021-2027 period (EU4Health programme). Interinstitutional negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council were concluded on 14 December 2020 with a provisional agreement on the programme, including a budget of €5.1 billion. Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety endorsed the final compromise on 15 January 2021. Parliament's first-reading vote is expected during the March I plenary session.

Coronavirus: Uncertainty and discontent [What Think Tanks are thinking]

04-02-2021

As the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic intensifies and some highly infectious new mutations of the virus spread, a growing number of countries have increased restrictions on travel and some lockdowns have been intensified. Whilst a series of vaccines are progressively gaining official approval, and their roll-out has started, pharmaceutical companies struggle with production capacity issues, the effectiveness of the vaccines on mutations is still uncertain, and a broader debate is opening ...

As the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic intensifies and some highly infectious new mutations of the virus spread, a growing number of countries have increased restrictions on travel and some lockdowns have been intensified. Whilst a series of vaccines are progressively gaining official approval, and their roll-out has started, pharmaceutical companies struggle with production capacity issues, the effectiveness of the vaccines on mutations is still uncertain, and a broader debate is opening up on the global fairness of vaccine distribution beyond the ‘first’ world. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on the coronavirus and related issues. More studies on the topics can be found in a previous edition in this series, published in December 2020.

The link between biodiversity loss and the increasing spread of zoonotic diseases

22-12-2020

Over the last decades, a variety of fatal infectious diseases have had zoonotic origins. The linkages between hosts, vectors, parasites and pathogens can be influenced by a multitude of factors, such as biodiversity, wildlife and land use. High levels of biodiversity may be a potential source of pathogen transmission, but biodiversity loss can also promote transmission by increasing the number of competent hosts for a pathogen. Biodiversity conservation reduces the risk of zoonotic diseases when ...

Over the last decades, a variety of fatal infectious diseases have had zoonotic origins. The linkages between hosts, vectors, parasites and pathogens can be influenced by a multitude of factors, such as biodiversity, wildlife and land use. High levels of biodiversity may be a potential source of pathogen transmission, but biodiversity loss can also promote transmission by increasing the number of competent hosts for a pathogen. Biodiversity conservation reduces the risk of zoonotic diseases when it provides additional habitats for species and reduces the potential contact between wildlife, livestock and humans. Additionally, host and vector management is a viable option. Other crucial measures include the restriction and sanitary control of wildlife trade, while considering the needs of indigenous peoples and local communities. Each case requires an assessment of the best way to reduce risk while considering implications for other ecosystem functions or services. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Parlamendiväline autor

Frank VAN LANGEVELDE, Hugo René RIVERA MENDOZA, Kevin D. MATSON, Helen J. ESSER, Willem F. DE BOER, Stefan SCHINDLER

What if AI could improve thermal imaging, to help fight coronavirus?

21-12-2020

Thermal imaging cameras are currently being installed in office buildings, hospitals, shopping malls, schools and airports as a means of detecting people with fever-like symptoms. Given that these cameras are not necessarily designed to operate as medical devices, there are questions about their suitability in the context of the current pandemic. This note provides an overview of the use of thermal imaging empowered with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, its suitability in the context of ...

Thermal imaging cameras are currently being installed in office buildings, hospitals, shopping malls, schools and airports as a means of detecting people with fever-like symptoms. Given that these cameras are not necessarily designed to operate as medical devices, there are questions about their suitability in the context of the current pandemic. This note provides an overview of the use of thermal imaging empowered with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, its suitability in the context of the current pandemic and the core technical limitations of this technology. The main legal responses and ethical concerns related to the use of AI in the context of thermal imaging at entry points to identify and triage people who may have elevated temperatures are also examined.

What if AI-powered passenger locator forms could help stop the spread of Covid-19?

21-12-2020

As decisions about who should get tested in an airport are important from public health and privacy perspectives, contact tracing and targeted testing based on AI-powered PLFs should be subject to thorough validation and accountability requirements so as to gain public trust and acceptance.

As decisions about who should get tested in an airport are important from public health and privacy perspectives, contact tracing and targeted testing based on AI-powered PLFs should be subject to thorough validation and accountability requirements so as to gain public trust and acceptance.

Coronavirus testing: Contributing to efforts to stem the second wave

07-12-2020

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic remains a major threat to public health in the European Union (EU). Testing is considered an essential aspect of the response to the pandemic. There are different types of coronavirus tests, each having its own merits and limitations. The timing of tests is also critical. Among the tests that detect current infection, (rapid) antigen tests have recently come to the fore. In view of a resurgence of coronavirus cases, the European Commission adopted on 28 October ...

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic remains a major threat to public health in the European Union (EU). Testing is considered an essential aspect of the response to the pandemic. There are different types of coronavirus tests, each having its own merits and limitations. The timing of tests is also critical. Among the tests that detect current infection, (rapid) antigen tests have recently come to the fore. In view of a resurgence of coronavirus cases, the European Commission adopted on 28 October 2020 a recommendation for a common EU testing approach for Covid-19. It addresses key points linked to testing capacities and resources, as well as rapid antigen tests. This was followed on 18 November by a recommendation on the use of rapid antigen tests for the diagnosis of Covid-19, which provides guidance on how to select rapid antigen tests, when they are appropriate and who should perform them. It also calls for validation and mutual recognition of tests and their results. EU and international public health bodies, including the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization, have given testing recommendations and outlined strategies and objectives. Several Member States have started to use rapid antigen tests in practice. Testing policies range from testing only people who both have symptoms and also meet specific criteria, to testing anyone with symptoms, to open public testing, including asymptomatic people. In a September 2020 resolution, the European Parliament called for the adoption and implementation of a common testing strategy under which test results would be recognised in all Member States. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, coronavirus testing has rapidly evolved and will continue to play an important role. New methods are emerging, including 'out of the box' options.

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