Topics and Documents

On this site you will find events, topics and you can download all important documents regarding the German EU Council Presidency.

Health Ministries consult about COVID-19 vaccines and the current state of play

A virtual meeting of Member States, the EU Commission, European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) took place on 16 December 2020 to consult about the current state of play as regards the marketing authorisation procedures for COVID-19 vaccines. This meeting had been announced by the Presidency during the virtual EPSCO on 2 December 2020 in view of the marketing authorisation applications submitted to EMA by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna.

Member States welcomed that a meeting was held on this important topic. The EU Commission and EMA informed about the state of play of the ongoing authorisation procedures while ECDC reported on stress tests on vaccination preparedness at national level that had taken place the previous day. In addition, Member States informed each other on their respective COVID-19 vaccination preparedness following the granting of a marketing authorisation as well as national vaccination strategies.

Presidency summary of the video conference at deputy-level on Covid-19 vaccines ()

Following Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn’s invitation, the Council of the European Union will meet in its Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) configuration on 2 December 2020.

Together with the European Parliament, this Council issues legislation on health topics in order to improve the healthcare of EU citizens and currently, in particular, the EU’s crisis response capabilities. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the event will take place in form of a video conference and not, as was planned, as an in-person event in Brussels.

Summary of the Presidency - Informal Meeting of Health Ministers, 2 December 2020 (PDF-file - not barrier free, 110 KB) ()

As one of the highlights of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the objective of the high-level conference on “Digital Health 2020 – EU on the Move” is to drive forward the discussions in the area of digital health. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn will open the conference that will bring together representatives of all stakeholders involved in the further development of digital health. The aim is to have an exchange on the European Health Data Space, the creation of which is currently one of the most significant projects at the European level in the area of digital health.

We will take you on a patient’s journey for you to discover artificial intelligence at work in three areas of health care: AI in everyday life, AI in out-patient care and AI and Big Data in the hospital setting.

The high-level conference will be streamed live in German and English on 11 November 2020 from 9:30.

Video conference of the EU Ministers of Health on the Council conclusions on the EU’s role in strengthening the World Health Organization on 30 October 2020

On 2 October 2020, Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn and his counterparts, the European Commission and the World Health Organization (WHO) had a virtual informal exchange to discuss ways to strengthen WHO. Further to this meeting, Federal Minister Spahn invited to a special EPSCO to be held as a video conference on 30 October 2020 to secure political approval for conclusions on the EU’s role in strengthening WHO. Serving to establish a common EU position, they are to be formally adopted by written procedure after the video conference. In light of the current pandemic, moreover, the ministers will be joined at the meeting by the ECDC to address the Council Recommendations on a coordinated COVID-19 approach adopted by the General Affairs Council and the EU Commission’s package of COVID-19 response measures of 28 October 2020. The meeting will be followed by a public press conference.

Meeting of the EU-Directors for Pharmaceutical Policy themed „Fit for Future – Shaping the EU pharmaceutical landscape“ on 29 October 2020

On the initiative of the German Presidency, the Directors for Pharmaceutical Policy of the EU met in a virtual format to hold a Meeting on 29 October 2020 chaired by German Director of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biotechnology, Thomas Müller. The European Commission and the European Medicines Agency also participated in the meeting. The meeting was themed: „Fit for Future – Shaping the EU pharmaceutical landscape“. Participants deep dived into the announced European Commission plans on the pharmaceutical strategy for Europe. In this context, Member States continued their discussions on concrete measures around the focus topic of the German EU Council Presidency - namely “ensuring supply of medicinal products in the EU” - which started at the Informal Meeting of EU Health Ministers on 16 July 2020.

Summary of the virtual meeting (PDF-file - not barrier free, 135 KB) (PDF: 136 KB)

Virtual meeting of the Chief Medical Officers (CMO) on the topic of enforcing contact tracing in the transport sector on 29 September, 2020

How can travel be made safer even in times of pandemics? During travel (e.g. by plane, ship, train, bus) as well as in a local setting at their destination (e.g. hotels, conference venues), travellers may have significant contact with infectious persons and possibly spread infections further on onward journeys to other countries. Rapid contact tracing is essential to combat the pandemic but in the transport sector, it poses a variety of challenges for member states. It is important that the relevant health authorities are notified of confirmed cases as soon as possible and that they are granted timely and sufficient access to relevant passenger data to allow for the systematic contact tracing. The Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) of the EU Member States, EFTA countries, the EU Commission and WHO EURO discussed this topic in a virtual meeting on 29 September, 2020 under the leadership of the German CMO, Dr. Hans-Ulrich Holtherm, German Federal Ministry of Health, with the Robert Koch Institute and the ECDC.

Summary of the virtual meeting (PDF-file - not barrier free, 92 KB) (PDF: 92 KB)

Virtual meeting of EU Health Ministers - 4 September 2020

On the initiative of the German Presidency, the Health Ministers of the EU met in a virtual format to hold an Informal Meeting on 4 September 2020 chaired by German Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn. The EU Commission, the ECDC and the EMA also participated in the meeting.

The Presidency had convened this extraordinary meeting given the current developments with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, including an increase in cases in many European countries, which highlight the need to continue the close cooperation and joint efforts among Member States to fight the virus.

The participants discussed the following topics:

  1. A coordinated approach to quarantine- and test regimes

  2. Procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and its financing

Summary of the virtual meeting of EU Health Ministers (PDF-file - not barrier free, 115 KB) (PDF: 119 KB)

Health Ministries discuss EU short-term health preparedness

A virtual meeting of Member States, EFTA countries and the EU Commission on the Commission’s Communication “Short–term EU health preparedness for COVID-19 outbreaks” published on 15 July 2020 took place at Deputy-level on 22 July 2020. Member States generally welcomed the Commission’s Communication. The focus of the discussion was put on measures regarding testing, contact tracing and public health surveillance.

Presidency Summary Deputy Meeting 22 July 2020 (PDF-file - not barrier free, 136 KB) (PDF: 136 KB)

Summary of the Informal Meeting

Here you will find the Summary of the Informal Meeting of Health Ministers from 16 July 2020:

  • english
    PDF-file (not barrier free, 111 KB) (PDF: 112 KB)

  • german
    PDF-file (not barrier free, 117 KB) (PDF: 117 KB)

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Information paper on the BMG programme of the German EU Council Presidency

A brief overview of the key priorities of Germany’s 2020 EU Council Presidency in the health sector and the most important events can be downloaded here.

  • german
    PDF-file (not barrier free, 222 KB) (PDF: 222 KB)

  • english
    PDF-file (not barrier free, 155 KB) (PDF: 155 KB)

Programme of the German EU Council Presidency

Here you can download the programme of the German EU Council Presidency "Together for Europe’s recovery" (1 July to 31 December 2020).

Programme of the Trio Presidency

For the period of the 18-month trio presidency of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia, the three countries have set common topics and priorities.

  • german
    PDF-file (not barrier free, 480 KB) (PDF: 480 KB)

  • english
    PDF-file (not barrier free, 483 KB) (PDF: 483 KB)

Publication: The German healthcare system

The German health care system caters for around 83 million citizens. It is a central pillar of political, social and economic life. But how is the health system structured? This brochure aims to provide answers to these and other questions.

  • german (barrier-free PDF: 4,3 MB)

  • english (barrier-free PDF: 4,2 MB)

  • french (barrier-free PDF: 4,3 MB)

Here you can download photos from the German Presidency of the Council of the EU 2020.