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Flu and patient mobility on Health Ministers’ Agenda

2009/07/07

The first informal ministers’s meeting during the presidency will end today. It is the Health Ministers who have been hosted by my colleagues Göran Hägglund and Maria Larsson in Jönköping for two days.

The main topic of discussion has been the rapid spread of the new influenza. A potential pandemic is truly a cross-border-problem, and this makes the need for coordination more important than ever. The WHO has an important global role to take in this field, but also the European Union’s common action and cooperation in this area has developed over the last few years. A concrete example is the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which we are proud to host in Sweden.

Health Ministers will also discuss the right for EU citizens to receive healthcare in other EU countries. The Swedish presidency will put priority to the negotiations on the “patient mobility directive”, that is to clarify the conditions for reimbursement of treatment in other Member States. Facilitating for patients to seek healthcare abroad is important for the principle of free movement of people, but also a way to stimulate a growing European market for health services.

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