Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups

GR-SOC
Rapporteur Group for Social and Health Questions

GR-SOC(2008)CB1 23 January 20081

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Synopsis
Meeting of 17 January 2008

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1. The Rapporteur Group for Social and Health Questions (GR-SOC), chaired by Ambassador Yevhen Perelygin, Permanent Representative of Ukraine, considered the following items in the light of the notes on the agenda (document GR-SOC(2008)1).

1. Communication by the Director General of DG III

2. The Director General’s communication on DG III’s main activities in recent and coming months was distributed during the meeting (document DD(2008)18).

2. European Health Committee (CDSP) – Draft recommendation CM/Rec(2007)… of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the inclusion of gender differences in health policy

    CM(2007)169, CM(2007)169 corr

3. The group resumed consideration of the draft Recommendation on the inclusion of gender differences in health policy,2 as amended during its last meeting (cf. CM(2007)169 corr and GR-SOC(2007)CB8). The Chair noted that the group could recommend that the Deputies adopt it without further debate at their 1016th meeting on 30 January 2008.

3. Replies to Parliamentary Assembly or Congress recommendations

    a. “Child victims: stamping out all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse” –

    Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1778 (2007)

    REC_1778 (2007), CM/AS(2007)Rec1778 prov2, GR SOC(2007)10, GR SOC(2007)10 corr

4. The group examined the revised draft reply to the Assembly Recommendation 1778 (2007), as it appears in document CM/AS(2007)Rec1778 prov2. The Chair noted that the group could recommend to the Deputies the adoption of the draft reply without further debate at their 1017th meeting on 6 February 2008.

    b. “The situation of elderly persons in Europe” –
    Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1796 (2007)

    REC_1796 (2007), CM/AS(2008)Rec1796 prov

5. The group examined the draft reply to the Assembly Recommendation 1796 (2007), as it appears in document. The Chair noted that the group could recommend to the Deputies the adoption of the draft reply without further debate at their 1017th meeting on 6 February 2008.

    c. “Development of social cohesion indicators – The concerted local and regional approach” Recommendation 207 (2007) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

    Congress Recommendation 207 (2007), CM/Cong(2008)Rec207prov

6. The group examined the draft reply to Recommendation 207 (2007) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, as it appears in document. The Chair noted that the group could recommend to the Deputies the adoption of the draft reply without further debate at their 1017th meeting on 6 February 2008.

4. Committee of experts on ageing of people with disabilities and older people with disabilities (CAHPAH-VPH) – Revised terms of reference

    CM(2007)198

7. The GR-SOC examined the revised terms of reference of the Committee of Experts on ageing of people with disabilities and older people with disabilities, a subordinate committee of the European Co-ordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 (CAHPAH), as they appear in document CM(2007)198. It noted that these had been prepared in the light of the Deputies’ decision at their 1002nd meeting on 11-12 July 2007 (CM/Del/Dec(2007)1002/6.1) and that, as of 1 January 2008, disability-related activities would be carried out exclusively under the Ordinary Budget of the Council of Europe.

8. During discussions, a number of delegations expressed the view that when the composition of the new committee is decided, it would be highly desirable that the CAHPAH ensures some continuity in the expertise brought to the work of its sub-committee, which could be done through encouraging the same experts that had participated in the work of the Parial Agreement to be nominated among the 12 experts to be reimbursed under the new committee. Other delegations pointed out that whilst they could support the idea of some continuity, as the activities in question were henceforth opened to all member states, it would be appropriate for the new committee also to include representatives of member states which had not been members of the Partial Agreement, and were therefore unable to participate in the activities until now. In this context, the group took note of the information provided by the Secretariat that current practice is for the Steering Committee and its Bureau to decide on the composition of subordinate groups, with representatives of all member states having the opportunity to express their interest in participating in the work of any said committee. In the light of an excessive number of interested candidates, other criteria such as geographical distribution are taken into account with regard to those participants who would be reimbursed. In addition, any member state that wished to do so could send a representative at the expense of their authorities. In the light of the discussions, and as proposed by the Chair, the Group agreed that the desirability for CAHPAH to ensure some continuity of expertise in the CAHPAH-VPH would be reflected in the draft decisions to be transmitted to the Deputies for adoptiion. .

9. Furthermore, one delegation proposed two amendments to the draft terms of reference, which met with the support of the group. Firstly, it was considered that it would be appropriate to reflect in the wording that the task of the committee of experts was “to finalise”, rather than “to prepare”, the various recommendations underway, in particular given the short duration of the terms of reference. The second suggestion referred to indent 4 of point 4 of the Terms of Reference, where it was proposed that to validate the reference to the Ministerial Declaration of the Second European Conference of Ministers responsible for integration policies for people with disabiilities held in Malaga on 7 and 8 May 2003, an additional phrase should be added to the effect of “as taken note of by the Committee of Ministers” .

10. In conclusion, the group agreed to transmit the revised terms of reference of the CAHPAH-VPH, as amended during the meeting, with a draft decision reflecting the desirability to ensure continuity of expertise in the membership of the group, to the Deputies for adoption at their 1017th meeting on 6 February 2008.

5. European Pharmacopoeia (EDQM)3

    a. Public Health Committee (Partial Agreement) (CD-P-SP) – Draft revised terms of reference

    CM(2007)183

11. The Group examined the draft revised terms of reference of the Public Health Committee (Partial Agreement) (CD-P-SP) as they appear in document CM(2007)183. It was recalled that these had been drawn up to reflect the Committee’s functions both in relation to the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia and to the activities related to pharmaceutical issues to be carried out in the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Health Care (EDQM), following the decision by the Deputies that, as of 1 January 2008, activities related to pharmaceutical issues be discontinued within the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field and be undertaken in the EDQM (cf. CM/Del/Dec(2007)1002/6.1).

12. During discussions, a number of delegations expressed the opinion that retaining the title “Public Health Committee” could be misleading and that it should more accurately reflect its functions, which are related to pharmaceuticals. In this respect, it was recalled that the name of the Public Health Committee appears in the text of the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia. After some discussion, it was agreed that legal advice would be sought as to whether any possible solutions, not requiring amendments to the Convention, were available which would allow for the name of the Committee to be changed. The results of such consultations would be presented to the GR-SOC at its next meeting on 5 February 2008.

13. Another point was raised by one delegation, which considered that the terms of reference could have reflected more clearly the activities to be carried out and expressed concern that that activities might be lost as a result of the transfer of activities relating to pharmaceuticaIs. In response, the Secretariat confirmed that that would not be the case, but on the contrary activities are likely to be increased.

14. Finally, in the light of some discussions, it was recalled that whilst it is a general rule to reimburse participants of steering commmitees functioning under the ordinary budget, it is customary procedure that the expenses of those who participate in meetings held under partial agreements are borne by the authorities of member states. The group agreed that any change to these procedures should only be made by a principled decision of the Committee of Ministers as a whole.

15. In the light of the discussions, the group agreed to resume consideration of this item at its meeting on 5 February 2008.

    b. European Committee on organ transplantation (CD-P-TO)

    i. Abridged report of the 2nd meeting (Dublin, 11-12 October 2007)

      ii. Draft Resolution CM/Res(2008)… on transplantation of kidneys from living donors who are not genetically related to the recipient

    iii. Draft Resolution CM/Res(2008)… on adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation

    CM(2007)196, CM(2007)196 add1, CM(2007)196 add2

16. The group examined the abridged report of the 2nd meeting of the European Committee on organ transplantation (CD-P-TO) as it appears in document 196, together with the two above mentioned draft resolutions in Appendices II and III respectively to that report, as well as the Explanatory Memorandum to draft Resolution CM/Res(2008)… on transplantation of kidneys from living donors who are not genetically related to the recipient (cf. CM(2007)196 add1) and the technical note on draft Resolution CM/Res(2008)… on adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation (cf. CM(2007)196 add2). The Chair also informed the group that his participation in the meeting in question had been interesting and instructive.

17. With regard to the draft resolution on transplantation of kidneys from living donors who are not genetically related to the recipient, one delegation considered that it would be useful, in the 1st paragraph in the Appendix to the Resolution and in the 1st paragraph of the Explanatory Memorandum, to recall the principle that organ removal can be undertaken on a living donor only in the case where a suitable organ from a deceased donor is not available and only when no alternative therapeutic method of comparable effectiveness is available (as it appears in paragraph 9 of the preamble to the Resolution).

18. Another delegation stated his country’s position that it was essential to prevent the commercialisation of human organs, and that particular care should therefore be taken to avoid such risks. It was also necessary that the safety and the state of health of donors be closely monitored, and that the necessary financial and other means were available to do so. In this respect it was proposed that it would be desirable to add a paragraph to the resolution which would underline the need to draw up, at the national level, special programmes which would ensure the close monitoring of the short and long term effects of transplanation on the health of donors.

19. With regard to the draft resolution on adult-to adult living donor liver transplantation, one delegation proposed to insert the words “clinical negligence in” between the words “from” and “transplantation” in the last line in the last paragraph (paragraph 9). The United Kingdom delegation pointed out that the reference to the United Kingdom in paragraph 1.2 of the Technical Note to the resolution wrongly appears under the third bullet point when it should should appear under the first bullet point indicating the countries where the procdure is fully recognised by health insurances or the social security.

20. In the light of the discussions, and the technical nature of the texts in question, it was decided that the proposed amendments would be submitted to the CD-P-TO for its consideration. Those delegations which had not already submitted their proposed amendments in writing were therefore asked to do so as soon as possible. The Chair proposed that the GR-SOC resume consideration of this item at its next meeting in the light of a revised text, as appropriate.

6. Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field – Consumer Health Protection Committee (Partial Agreement) (CD-P-SC) – Draft terms of reference

    CM(2007)199

21. The GR-SOC examined the terms of reference of the Consumer Health Protection Committee (Partial Agreement) (CD-P-SC) as set out in document CM(2007)199. It was recalled that this committee had been created to allow three (cosmetics, nutrition and food packaging) out of four remaining activities in the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field to continue, following the decision mentioned above under items 4 and 5 (CM/Del/Dec(2007)1002/6.1), and as agreed by the Deputies, at their 1012th meeting (27 November 2007), in their composition restricted to the States members of the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field, when adopting the 2008 budget (cf.CM/Del/Dec(2007)1012/11.1/Part13).

22. One delegation stated that it would have liked to have seen specific mentions of the role of the Committee vis-à-vis the Programme of Activities in the terms of reference. The Secretariat replied that it had not been considered necessary since it was not sure that the Committee would assume such functions for any length of time in the light of the decision of the Deputies, when adopting the 2008 budget, inviting the Secretariat to explore the possibility of undertaking the activities related to cosmetics, nutrition, food packaging and flavourings in the framework of another partial agreement with a view to taking a decision of principle before April 2008. In this context, it was noted that the terms of reference expire at the end of the year.

23. One delegation informed the Committee that his country would be withdrawing from the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field in the course of the year. Following discussions, the Chair noted that the group could recommend that the Deputies, in their composition restricted to the States members of the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field,4 adopt the terms of reference at their 1017th meeting on 6 February 2008.

7. Other business

24. The Chair informed the GR-SOC that in December he had attended a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Migration, Refugees and Popoulation. Following these contacts, it had been proposed that the above Committee invite members of the GR-SOC for an informal exchange of views during the April Session of the Parliamentary Assembly. This would provide an opportunity for the GR-SOC and the parliamentarians to share and discuss their respective priorities, and explore how co-operation may be further strengthened. Support was expressed for the proposal put forward by the Chair, who agreed to follow it up and inform the Group of any developments at the next meeting. The Chair mentioned that it would be useful if such an informal exchange of views could also take place with the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee during the October Session.

8. Dates of next meetings

Tuesday, 5 February 2008 at 4.00 pm

Thursday, 28 February 2008 at 3.00 pm (to be confirmed).

1 This document was classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

2 Approved by the CDSP at its 60th meeting (5 to 7 June 2007) (cf. CM(2007)151).

3 States concerned: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Turkey and United Kingdom.

4 States concerned: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.



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