The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union

(em português)

Portugal will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2007. This will be the third occasion on which it has done so: the first was in 1992 and the second in 2000. As President of the EU Council from 1st July to 31st December this year, Portugal will chair all Council meetings, represent the Council in its dealings with other EU bodies, and act as the representative of the EU in relations with international organisations and non-EU countries.

The Council of the European Union is a single body but it meets in nine different configurations, involving the ministers of the EU Member States, in accordance to the subjects to be discussed. Health ministers sit on the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO).

The EPSCO Council will meet on 5th and 6th December in Brussels.

The main initiatives of the Portuguese presidency in the field of health are:
- the European Conference on “Health and Migration in the European Union – Better health for all in an inclusive society”, to be held in Lisbon on 27th and 28th September, organised by the Portuguese National School of Public Health;
- the Round Table on “Health Strategies in Europe”, to be held in Lisbon on 12th and 13th July, organised by the High Commissariat for Health with the collaboration of Professor Paulo Ferrinho of the Portuguese Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Institute.

The Portuguese Directorate-General of Health (Direcção-Geral da Saúde) will be responsible for:
- publishing a book on the health care system in this country entitled “Health in Portugal”;
- ensuring that regular meetings are held, such as those of Chief Medical Officers, Chief Nursing Officers, and Chief Dental Officers, and meetings of the High Level Committee on Public Health;
- providing support to two international initiatives, the ‘Conference on Rare Diseases’, to be held in Lisbon on 27th and 28th November, and the Conference ‘Patient Safety Research – shaping the European agenda’ to be held in Porto from 24th to 26th September.