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European Union ministers to discuss the issues of labour, social affairs, and health policy

From today, 19 July, until Friday, the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Employment, Social Affairs, Family and Gender Equality and the Informal Meeting of Health Ministers will be taking place in the Tallinn Creative Hub, (Kultuurikatel). Over the course of three days, the ministers will discuss work-life balance, alcohol policy in the EU, and digital innovation in health.

Ministers of Employment, Social Affairs, Family and Gender Equality will exchange ideas and best practices for work-life balance, focusing on new forms of work, diverse family types, and men’s participation in sharing the care burden.

These issues are very important as Europe is facing the dual challenge of an ageing and shrinking population, resulting in a labour shortage. People of prime working age are also potentially those who would have children and who carry the responsibilities of caring for dependent relatives. This means it is vital to take measures to successfully reconcile work, family, and private life. An essential issue is how to encourage a more balanced distribution of the care burden between men and women. On average, the burden of care is the reason for inactivity in 19.2% of women, but only 1.9% of men in the European Union. New forms of work, and diverse family models must also be taken into account.

The meeting will be chaired by Jevgeni Ossinovski, Minister of Health and Labour, and Kaia Iva, Minister of Social Protection.

The Informal Meeting of Health Ministers on 20-21 July will feature discussions regarding alcohol policy and the free movement of health data. A digital Europe and the free movement of data is one of the overall priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Greater access to and secure use of health data together with new technologies and processes can positively impact citizens’ health and support value-based and sustainable healthcare systems. Access to and the sharing of health data is also crucial to enable research and innovation.

Ministers are invited to discuss the tools that are needed to enable people to better control and manage their data in a secure and convenient manner. To set the agenda for the coming years, ministers are invited to share their opinions on areas where member states could work together more effectively to support the member states’ efforts to overcome the main challenges and barriers to data-driven digital innovation in health.

During the meeting, ministers are invited to discuss recent developments on alcohol policy in the EU. The discussion will also focus on the most important aspects of alcohol policy at the EU level for member states, especially cross-border issues. The aim of the discussions is to identify the main gaps and challenges facing the EU in implementing EU alcohol policies. This chiefly concerns cross-border advertising including digital media, cross-border trade, and the labelling of alcoholic beverages.

The meeting will be chaired by Jevgeni Ossinovski, Minister of Health and Labour.