Health Minister Thanos Plevris was among EU ministers discussing issues related to the strengthening of the health sector in EU countries, during an informal video conference of EU health ministers. The online conferece was held on Tuesday, organised by the EU Presidency of Slovenia.
In particular, they discussed common solutions to increase availability and accessibility of medicines and to improve the response and preparedness to cross-border health threats, as well as possible ways of cooperating, investing in health and providing support in the introduction of innovative solutions for resilient health systems.
In addition, the health ministers exchanged views on the progress of vaccination campaigns, the reluctance of European citizens, the third dose and the issue of vaccines being distributed in third countries.
In his speech, Plevris, thanked the European Commission, the current and previous EU presidencies, the ECDC and the EMA for their unflagging efforts to tackle Covid-19.
He stressed that the pandemic had highlighted pre-existing gaps in terms of available drugs, such as shortages of new antibiotics to address antimicrobial resistance, as well as other drugs needed to meet patients' needs, and stressed the need to refocus on existing drugs. He emphasised the need for member-states to cooperation and said that strengthening the EU framework on preparing for and responding to health crises was absolutely imperative. He also supported the European Commission's choice with respect to the European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), noting that while it is currently an EU Agency, this does not rule out the possibility of it becoming an independent agency in the future