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Minister Huovinen to attend meeting of EPSCO Council in Brussels

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
1.12.2014 11.11
Press release
The EU's Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) will meet in Brussels on 1 December. The topic of the Council meeting is health issues, and Minister of Health and Social Services Susanna Huovinen will be representing Finland at the meeting.

Among the decisions to be made at the meeting is the approval of three conclusions. These are the conclusions on vaccines as tools for promoting national health, conclusions on patient safety and the prevention of infections linked with treatment and microbe immunity to medicines, and conclusions on innovations on behalf of patients.

In addition, the Ministers of Health will discuss the interim evaluation of the Europe 2020 growth strategy.  The strategy aims at smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth to increase employment, productivity, and social cohesion in the EU.  Finland is proposing that health should be taken into consideration more than before as part of this pan-European plan.

"Health should not be examined from the point of view of cost alone; it is also important to recognise the significance of health as an important part of sustainability of the pubic economy and of economic growth. Reducing inequalities in health also has a positive effect on the national economy. On the other hand, it must be kept in mind that health always also has its own independent value, which cannot be gauged by economic measures alone", Minister Huovinen says.

The Commission will inform the Council meeting on the issue of Ebola. The situation caused by the Ebola epidemic is still very serious in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and EU and its member states have issued over one billion euros to the prevention of Ebola as of March 2014. According to Finland the measures in the epidemic area in West Africa should still be made more effective.

"At the same time however, we need to support and strengthen the national health care systems in different countries, so that epidemics like this could be prevented effectively in the future", Minister Huovinen notes.

In Brussels Minister Huovinen will also meet Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU's new Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, as well as Finnish Members of the European Parliament, and the Minister of Health of Latvia, the new holder of the EU Presidency.

Further information

Senior Officer Tuomas Leppo tel. +358 2951 63120

Susanna Huovinen
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