Presidency of the Council of the European Union
The Council is the main decision-making body of the European Union (EU), and its presidency rotates every 6 months.
Malta began its term as President on 1 January 2017, as the last of the presidency trio with the Netherlands and Slovakia. Estonia will take up its presidency in July 2017 as the first of the new trio with Austria and Bulgaria. Each presidency trio sets out an overarching objective on which the 3 consecutive partnerships will work.
The overarching theme of the Maltese Presidency is, in its own words, “rEUnion”, a concept that seeks to reconnect EU citizens at individual, corporate and national levels. Focus areas for health include:
- tackling childhood obesity by developing guiding principles on the public procurement of food, for example, in school settings;
- fighting HIV through prevention and mitigation strategies; and
- enhancing cross-border cooperation through the promotion of centres of excellence, for example, in the area of rare diseases.
The Maltese Presidency will continue the work on accessibility and affordability of medicines begun by the Netherlands Presidency. Malta will also host a conference on data for health as part of eHealth Week in May.
Health-related meetings and events during the Maltese Presidency include:
- 30 January 2017: conference on HIV, co-organized with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control;
- 20–21 February 2017: meeting of the WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative;
- 19 March 2017: informal meeting of health ministers; and
- 10–12 May 2017: eHealth Week.