Conference on “Health challenges in the EU in the pandemic context

Hybrid event - Thursday, 31 March 2022 from 09:30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Draft agenda

Speakers to be confirmed indicated as tbc

09:00 a.m. - 09:30 a.m. | Registration/Testing connection

09:30 a.m. - 09:50 a.m. | Opening session

Moderator: Laurenţiu Plosceanu, President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC), European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

  • Christa Schweng, President of the European Economic and Social Committee
  • Keynote speech: Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Promoting our European Way of Life - Keynote speech

09:50 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. | Introductory session – setting the scene

Moderator: Laurenţiu Plosceanu, President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship, European Economic and Social Committee

  • Michel Kazatchkine, member of the WHO Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response
  • Andrea Ammon, Director, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
  • François Bourse, Director of Studies at "Futuribles", Centre for foresight thinking and studies (on foresight and why governments were not prepared despite experts' warnings in the past years)
  • John Ioannidis, Professor of Medicine, of Epidemiology and Population Health and by courtesy, of Statistics and of Biomedical Data Science, Stanford University
  • Peter C. Gøtzsche, physician, medical researcher and Director of the Institute for Scientific Freedom

11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. | Coffee break / Break for interpreters

11:30 a.m. - 01:00 p.m. | Parallel sessions 1 and 2 (including debate with participants)

Panel 1 - Meeting room JDE 62: How can the EU improve the preparedness and resilience of its health systems?

Moderator: Alain Coheur, President of the Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption (INT), EESC

  • Ioannis Vardakastanis, EESC Rapporteur of the opinion on "Building a European Health Union" and opinion on "Health Emergency and Preparedness Authority - HERA"
  • Stephan Schreck, Representative from DG SANTE on the European Health Union, including HERA and the pharmaceutical strategy
  • Caroline Costongs, Director, EuroHealthNet (Network of National Health bodies)
  • Tanja Valentin, Director General External Affairs, MedTech Europe

Panel 2 - Meeting room JDE 63: What role can international cooperation play for gaining control of the pandemic and future preparedness?

Moderator: Pietro De Lotto, President of the Consultative Commission for Industrial Change (CCMI), European Economic and Social Committee

  • Gerald Rockenschaub, Regional Emergency Director, WHO Europe
  • Tanja Buzek, EESC, International Trade Follow-up Committee Chair
  • Antony Taubman, WTO, Director, Intellectual Property, Government Procurement & Competition Division (in charge of TRIPS at the WTO secretariat)
  • Rosa Pavanelli, Secretary General, Public Services International (PSI)
  • Elen Høeg, Acting Policy Director at CEPI, co-leader of the COVAX initiative

01:00 p.m. - 02:30 p.m. | Lunch break

02:30 p.m. - 04:00 p.m. | Parallel sessions 3 and 4 (including debate with participants)

Panel 3 - Meeting room JDE 63: How can the EU better fight and eliminate health inequalities and thoroughly implement principle 16 of the European Pillar of Social Right (EPSR)?

Moderator:Baiba Miltoviča, President of the Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN), European Economic and Social Committee

  • Isabel de la Mata Barranco, Principal Adviser for Health and Crisis Management, DG SANTE, European Commission, on the EPSR and health inequalities
  • Raymond Gemen, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) on health inequalities
  • Jolanta Reingarde, Researcher, European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) on impact of the pandemic on women and gender equality
  • Helder Ferreira, Director, European Antipoverty Network (EAPN) on impact of the pandemic on poverty

Panel 4 - Meeting room JDE 62: How can the Action Plan Towards a Zero Pollution Ambition for air, water and soil, the recovery and resilience plans and other instruments in the context of the European Green Deal contribute to enhance people's health and avoid future pandemics?

Moderator: Peter Schmidt, President of the Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment (NAT), European Economic and Social Committee

  • Veronica Manfredi, Director, Zero Pollution, DG ENV, European Commission
  • Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director, European Environment Agency (EEA)
  • Marieke Schouten, Member of the European Committee of the Region (CoR), Rapporteur of the opinion EU Action Plan: Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil
  • European Youth Forum or Generation Climate Europe (tbc)

04:00 p.m. - 04:15 p.m. | Coffee break / Break for interpreters

04:15 p.m. - 05:30 p.m. | Closing session

Moderator: Javier Doz Orrit, Vice-President of the Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO), EESC

Presentation of the conclusions of the discussions of panels 1-4 (max 7 minutes each)

  • Kaisa Immonem, Director of Policy, European Patients'Forum (Panel 1)
  • Dr Aisling McMahon, Associate Professor, Maynooth University (Panel 2)
  • Ines Bulic Cojocariu, Director, European Network on Independent Living (Panel 3)
  • (Panel 4)

Closing remarks

  • Jérôme Weinbach, Deputy director, European and International Affairs Division, French Ministry for Solidarity and Health
  • César Luena, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the ENVI Committee


2022-03-31_Health challenges in the EU in the pandemic context - Programme