EU Policy. Last scramble for Health Data Space, Newsletter

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By Euronews
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This week's key events presented by senior health reporter Gerardo Fortuna

Key diary dates

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Monday 11 March:European Buildings Performance Directive's final agreement debate in the European Parliament's plenary in Strasbourg, vote due on Tuesday March 12, expected to have the green light for formal adoption by the Council.

Monday 11 March: The European Environment Agency (EEA) will publish the first ever European climate risk assessment.

Thursday 14 March: MEPs resume discussion on Belgian presidency compromise on European Health Data Space.

In spotlight

It is the last, outstanding file of this parliament’s mandate but talks between EU lawmakers on the European Health Data Space (EHDS) haven’t yet landed a result, suddenly collapsing at the finishing line last week.

Belgium seems keen to clinch a deal in extra time since without MEPs' sign off, its presidency of the EU Council will have yielded not a single health file.

So much was clear when Belgian health minister Frank Vandenbroucke promised "my effort will be maximal" in an interview with Euronews earlier this year. “We must land [on a compromise] even if time is very short,” he said at the time.

But willingness may not suffice, as witnessed by the shadow of the corporate sustainability due diligence file - agreed by MEPs but yet to be rubberstamped by member states - still casts over the Council.

Belgium does not want to find itself in a similar predicament with the EHDS, and since not all member states want the measure introduced "at all costs", as a parliamentary source put it, room for manoeuvre is limited.

There’s goodwill, however, on the side of parliament, particularly from lead rapporteur Tomislav Sokol (Croatia/EPP), who appears to have the support of the socialists.

For parliament to accept a deal, however, a compromise must be clinched on its remaining red line: patients’ right to opt out of their health data being passed on to third parties.

The parliament mandate was approved last December, and with just four interinstitutional meetings completed on highly technical issues spanning health and digital, it was inevitable that negotiations on this file would go down to the wire.

“There was good progress, only more facetime between co-legislators is needed to finalise the deal,” a well-placed EU source said after last week's talks collapsed.

All eyes will be on MEPs meeting later this week (14 March) to see if that proves to be wishful thinking.

Policy newsmakers

Policy newsmakers
Policy newsmakersEuronews

@Vandenbroucke                                                                                                            @Tardino

Data space stand-off

Frank Vandenbroucke, Belgium's health minister led negotiations on behalf of Belgium’s EU Council presidency with MEPs, including Annalisa Tardino, co-rapporteur the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, on the EU's proposed European Health Data Space (EHDS). The talks stretched into the early hours before collapsing at dawn on 8 March, as attempts to finalise a compromise were frustrated by differences on re-deploying health data for so-called ‘secondary use’.

Policy Poll

To offer access to your anonymised health data to tech giants, insurance companies and multinationals, would you:

*GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

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1. Require specific consent

2. Accept GDPR protection

Vote here

Subscribe here to see the results of last week's poll and stay informed on the latest EU policy developments with our weekly newsletter, “The Policy Briefing”. Your weekly insight on European rulemaking, policy issues, key events, and data trends.

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