Our asks for the Hungarian Presidency

AnimalhealthEurope welcomes the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as it takes its seat following the European Elections of June 2024. In the coming months, the new College of Commissioners will receive their portfolios, missions, and mandates for the next five years. During this period the future Commission may launch its initial initiatives, making the Hungarian Presidency a politically pivotal one.

The emergence of zoonotic diseases in Europe has become a significant public health concern, driven in part by changes in climate. Diseases such as Lyme disease and avian influenza illustrate the diverse and growing threats posed by zoonoses. Climate change has expanded the habitats of vectors like ticks and mosquitoes, facilitating the spread of diseases to new regions, like the recent outbreak on Blue Tongue Virus (BTV-3). Current scenarios do not realistically foresee a reduction in the risk factors contributing to the emergence of new animal diseases in Europe.

AnimalhealthEurope is urging Hungary to prioritise animal health and welfare during their Presidency, specifically by:

  • Encouraging initiatives aimed at preventing disease occurrence, such as SMART animal farming, vaccination, biosecurity, and by enhancing preparedness through increased dialogue between authorities and the animal health industry.
  • Boosting the competitiveness of the European veterinary medicines industry to safeguard the EU’s strategic autonomy, for example, by fostering an environment that attracts investments in research and development of next-generation vaccines, new therapeutic tools, diagnostics, and digital monitoring tools. This includes encouraging the creation of new vaccine banks through the review of the Animal Health Law and reducing administrative burden for the sector.
  • Establishing a dedicated over-arching One Health Strategy that goes beyond the topic of addressing antimicrobial resistance, foodborne diseases, and emerging disease threats. This includes, the creation an EU One Health Cross-Border, Cross-Sectoral Working Group.
  • Making sure the Proposals on the welfare of dogs and cats and their traceability and on the protection of animals during transport, recognise the interlink between animal health and welfare and the importance of the Human-Animal bond. This includes the recognition of animal health as an indicator for animal welfare and of the use of animal health technologies to support animal welfare and the collection of welfare data.
  • Ensuring access to animal health products and services by recognising the essentiality of substances used in veterinary medicines and not restricting their use unduly through horizontal legislations, as all veterinary medicinal products have undergone far-reaching evaluations before they can be placed on the market.
  • Promoting vibrant communities by encouraging development of the veterinary profession, alongside the retention and return of animal health care specialists to support rural and urban communities.

AnimalhealthEurope wishes the best to Hungary for the Presidency and stays committed to help optimise animal health management, while contributing to the sustainability of food production and keeping the companion animals that share our homes free from disease in Europe.