The six-month Estonian Presidency of the EU Council commenced on 1 July 2017. Focus areas of the Presidency include the digitalisation of the health sector and the effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

MS – 07/2017

Plans for digitalisation

Estonia (‘e-Estonia’) is among the most advanced countries in Europe when it comes to the digitalisation of public administration. This is one of the reasons why Estonia, who currently holds the Council Presidency, wants to encourage other countries to do the same. 


Estonia is focusing on access to health data and its safe handling. A core aspect of this is the cross-border exchange of digital patient files and electronic prescriptions in order to have even better health care in the Single Market. 


Estonia is being supported by its strategic partner the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance). Four task forces have also been created involving experts and stakeholders from across Europe. The four task forces are dealing with the following topics: 


  • Covergence of interoperability standards; 
  • Exchange of health data for research purposes; 
  • Establishing a legal framework to regulate the free flow of data and secondary use of data; 
  • Recommendations for digital transformation and change management in healthcare organisations. 


The results from the task forces will be presented at a high-level conference in Tallinn from 16-18 October 2017. The aim is to have Council conclusions on the digitalisation of healthcare by the end of the Estonian Presidency.  

Measures to combat alcohol abuse

The Estonian Presidency is also calling for greater EU commitment in the fight against dangerous alcohol consumption, especially given that Europe has the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world. The aim is to implement European-wide measures such as changes to advertising, cross-border trade and the labelling of alcoholic beverages. 

Further Information via Internet

Detailed information on the Estonian Presidency's social policy focus can be found here


Information on the whole of the Estonian Presidency can be found here