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Cypriot European commissioner designate one step closer to appointment (Updated)

Cyprus' Stella Kyriakides received the health portfolio

Commissioner designate Stella Kyriakides on Wednesday received the green light from a committee at the European Parliament (EP) to proceed to the next stage of her application.

The president of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee, Pascal Canfin announced that “the coordinators evaluated Kyriakides’ hearing this morning and gave a green light insisting on the need for additional concrete measures notably on pesticides”.

Canfin also said  he would be “happy to work with a passionate and dedicated new commissioner.”

With a further 19 questions and answers on EU anti-cancer policy, pesticides, glyphosates, genetically modified organisms and the use of science in decision-making on all related issues, the second round of commissioner-designate Kyriakides hearing was completed on Tuesday night.

At the conclusion of the process, she said she had heard the concerns of members and stressed that she was determined to do everything possible to provide solutions.

Asked about the ambitious plan to tackle cancer and the importance of prevention, which would mean addressing the tobacco and alcohol industries, she stressed that she was not willing to lower the bar.

“We need to make sure that anything that touches on prevention is approached. Beating cancer is an ambitious plan but if we work together, we can deliver it,” she said.

“Cancer is a big part of many people’s lives and we need to look at it holistically. Prevention is an important part of it.”

Regarding the shortage of medicines in general, Kyriakides said there are many reasons behind it, like the rise in prices and timely forecasting of deficiencies.

“Access to medicines and pricing are important elements. It is the right of the patient to have access to safe medicines at prices that they can buy, ” she said.

Concerning pesticides, a question raised by several MEPs, she reiterated that it is a very important issue and that European legislation is not yet being implemented correctly.

“This is part of the Green Deal and the ‘farm to fork’ strategy. Strict measures will be taken on the use of pesticides,” she said.

Kyriakides also referred to the issue of anti-vaccine disinformation campaigns and the recurrence of diseases that had disappeared, blaming misinformation.

“We will work closely with member states to disseminate proper scientific information. Resistance to antibiotics is a global problem and the EU must take the lead in this matter. We cannot ignore children losing their lives because of this. We have to fight misinformation,” the commissioner-designate said.

Asked about what kind of commissioner she would be, Kyriakides said: “I would have to become Commissioner first and then I will let the people decide, based on my work.”

Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performances of the remaining commissioner-designates.

Based on the committee’s recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on October 17 if parliament has received enough information to declare the hearing process closed.

If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on October 23, in Strasbourg.

 

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