The European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen announced the names and portfolios of the new college of Commissioners. The health files were handed to Stella Kyriakides from Cyprus who has a background in medical psychology. Mrs. Kyriakides has been very active in the breast cancer movement both at national and EU level.

Health portfolio also includes food safety and animal health

Although the name of the portfolio mentions only health, Mrs. Kyriakides will also supervise dossiers on food safety and animal health. In her mission letter to Mrs. Kyriakides, Ursula von der Leyen outlined the main health policy expectations for the next five years as follows:

  • Ensure better access to care, safe food, and protection against epidemics and diseases;
  • Facilitate the supply of affordable medicines to meet the needs of Europeans;
  • Focus on the effective implementation of the new regulatory framework on medical devices to protect patients and ensure it addresses new and emerging challenges;
  • Make the most of the potential of e-health to provide quality care and reduce inequalities;
  • Prioritise communication on vaccination and fight hesitancy and misinformation;
  • Improve consumer information in food products;
  • Focus on the implementation and enforcement of the legislation in the areas of food safety.

Medical devices is moved from DG GROW to the DG SANTE, and so is part of pharmaceuticals in biotechnology and food chain.

This means that health is not weakened, but strengthened in the new European Commission, possible led by a former patient advocate. This is a major success for the joint campaign #EU4Health.

Just launching our report on "Active Patients Access Care", we celebrate in particular new focus on access to care, and with our #FoodDetectives project, the consumer information of food products. We hope that these focuses will help our members to achieve their goals for patients with strong support from the European level.

Cyprus experienced in leading the EU on health issues

Mrs. Kyriakides will be the 3rd Cypriot who will hold the position of EU commissioner for health, after Markos Kyprianou 2004-2008 and Androulla Vassiliou 2008-2010. The nominated commissioners will go through hearings in the European Parliament between 30 September and 8 October.