EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, met representatives of the Local Council Association at Dar l-Ewropa in Valletta on Monday morning. Together they discussed issues related to his portfolio in the context of local governance.
Mr Dalli gave a brief overview of the latest initiatives taken by the European Commission, including those in relation to food security, medical devices, cross-border health care, and E-Health.
The Commissioner emphasised the importance of attaining a sufficient level of interoperability between IT systems used in health systems in the different EU member states. The European Commission’s role in this area, he explained, is to facilitate measures that ought to be taken by member states to ensure the sustainability of their respective systems. “Steps taken at EU level seek to be proactive rather than reactive”, he said. Food security is a case in point, where the system is as strong as the weakest link. Thus, it is crucial to ensure the traceability of products and to provide for quick remedies when needed. The ongoing anti-smoking campaign is another aspect of a precautionary nature that in the long run seeks to alleviate the burden on our health systems.
The President of the Local Council Association, Mr Michael Cohen, thanked the Commissioner for accepting the Association’s invitation and stressed the need for representatives of local government to keep abreast with developments at EU level, particularly in virtue of their role within the European Committee of the Regions.
Attending the meeting were also Dr Samuel Azzopardi (President, Gozo Region), Dr Malcolm Mifsud (President, Central Region), Mr Joseph Cordina, and Dr Aaron Farrugia.
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