The first round of questions and answers of the hearing for the nomination of Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakidou has been concluded in Brussels at the meeting of the ENVI and AGRI Committees in the European Parliament.
The candidate Commissioner answered 7 questions, one from each political group, put forward by the coordinators on cancer strategy, endocrine disrupters, organ donation pesticides, antimicrobial resistance and patient access to safe treatment for patients.
In detail, in her reply to the Coordinator of the European People`s Party (EPP), to ensure patients have non-discriminatory access to drugs and treatment, Stella Kyriakidou agreed with the position of the MEP and replied that the European plan on beating Cancer must contain “everything you have mentioned”, making it clear that “it can leave no one behind”. She also emphasized investing at European level in changing the way people live, at a time when, as she said, “we know that 30% of cancers can be prevented”.
She also noted that Member States` relevant local programs should follow the Community directives in coordination. She stressed that access to medicines is a critical component of the strategy against cancer and cited as an example of the horizontal approach, the very measures needed to combat microbial resistance, from which cancer patients lose their lives.
The incoming Commissioner subsequently acknowledged progress and stressed that more stringent criteria should be set than limiting endocrine disruptions, answering a question from the Socialist and Democratic coordinator. She confirmed that endocrine disrupters would be an important part of the agenda for the next Commission`s mandate, stating that she would await the results of internal control of relevant legislation at European level. She then promised assistance to Member States promoting legislation and has committed itself to working with the EP to produce legislation.
On behalf of the Renew Europe group, the question was addressed by the President of the ENVI Commission himself, as the group`s coordinator. The President asked the candidate Commissioner if she would commit to a measurable goal of reducing pesticide use in agriculture. Stella Kyriakidou referred to an ongoing evaluation by the Commission services on the use of pesticides and pledged to reduce dependence on these chemicals, encouraging investment in lower risk alternatives. She noted that this commitment was part of the Commission`s “farm to fork” strategy and the “Green New Deal” by the President elect. She made it clear that she would not lower the level of protection against bees by referring to an EFSA text pertaining to the reduction of the use of specific medicines, but with the cooperation of Parliament and Member States. “We all stand on the same planet we have to protect,” she concluded.
The Coordinator of the Greens expressed her dissatisfaction with the co-legislators` hitherto practice of legislating against specific pesticides, asking the Commissioner-designate to change the Commission`s practice if elected. The Commissioner-designate stressed that she would not apologize for past practices, stressing that she would apply the strategy of the next Commission, with decisions at the College level and in the letter describing her mission. She confirmed that she would work to create consensus, recognizing that pesticide legislation has not been fully implemented so far, referring positively to the content of recent criticism of the EP report. She acknowledged that the issue is highly political and that we are awaiting research results, and is committed to acting in line with Science.
In response to a question from the ID group coordinator on organ donation and whether or not there will be a European directive on the subject, Stella Kyriakidou stressed that organ donation is extremely important, and referred to a forthcoming legislation fitness report to be published later this year before commenting on whether or not coordination and a European directive are needed. “We have to move with science-based data and that is what we will do,” she said.
In response to another question from the same coordinator on the issue of antibiotic resistance to microbes, she referred to the 30,000 deaths from this problem and mentioned the so-called “one health agenda”, which encourages industry to innovate in its case. antibiotics.
In response to a question from the ECR (Conservatives) on coordinating the internal workings of the Commission`s departments, Stella Kyriakidou stressed that “we can always have better coordination”, referring to the proposals of President-elect von Der Leyen and announced that she will coordinate on topics in her portfolio with Commissioners Timmermans, Schinas and Vestager. Called to respond on how to encourage the reinvestment of the pharmaceutical industry in the EU, she recognized the need and stressed that she understood what it meant for patients to have a shortage of drugs, and committed to keeping the EU at the forefront of research and production in the field of medicine.
Regarding the lack of access to effective treatment put forward by the GUE coordinator, the Commissioner referred to the Commission`s 2018 decision and the EP`s resolution 2019 on the safety of medical equipment. She stressed that she does not understand the Member States` reluctance on the issue, but at the same time acknowledges that “no MS should be left behind” and is committed to considering the relevant legislative initiative if approved by the EP. She recalled that she has long been promoting consumer rights, and has been involved in relevant legislation in Cyprus.
Following comes a second round of 18 questions and answers from the rest of the members of the 2 Committees.