Markos KYPRIANOU European Commissioner for Health - A European Strategy for
Bluetongue Vaccination Bluetongue Conference - Brussels, 16 January
: Commission Européenne (europa.eu.int
) - Actualité publiée le 16/01/08 à
Brussels, 16 January 2008
I am very
glad to have this opportunity to address this important conference.
Commission is fully aware of the impact of the recent epidemic waves of
This disease causes tremendous suffering and even deaths
among the animals affected, so there are strong animal health and welfare
reasons for us to act.
While the negative impact of this disease
primarily affects the farming community – it also has significant implications
for society as a whole (e.g. reduction in milk supply affects prices; economic
impact on rural economy of disruption of well established patterns of trade
caused by movement restrictions).
Bluetongue is a disease that is
characterised by the vector- borne nature of its transmission.
threat posed by the bluetongue virus will continue – not least as a consequence
of climate change. Indeed, the latest developments indicate that Bluetongue
serotype 8 has spread to Spain.
In addition, new diseases may emerge,
and hitherto typically tropical diseases may become established in the EU as a
result of changing weather patterns.
The EU response to the ongoing
bluetongue situation has involved all of us present today - the Commission,
Member State authorities, stakeholders and the scientific community.
Today's conference provides an important opportunity to learn from each
other's experiences and discuss how we can co-operate more closely in tackling
this disease in the future.
One major outcome we have already achieved
is the Regulation adopted last October, that provides for more sustainable,
proportionate and science based rules to combat threats to animal health.
As we begin to apply the provisions of the new Regulation, there is
clearly a need for effective cooperation between Member States to ensure that
trade is underpinned by trust.
All actors should make responsible use of
the new legislative framework – which is built on science but depends on proper
and rigorous implementation.
Without this, the essential level of trust
simply cannot be built. It is therefore imperative that all actors assume and
exercise their responsibilities fully.
In addition, more has to be done
at ground level. Effective veterinary measures are essential in order to cope
with animal diseases.
The principal, and possibly the only, effective
veterinary measure in response to bluetongue is vaccination accompanied by
ancillary measures such as movement restrictions and surveillance.
of today's conference is therefore devoted to discussing the role of vaccination
in combating this disease, including the experiences of EU Member States that
have used it in recent years, as well as the USA and South Africa.
you know, the Commission has proposed a new animal health strategy with the
overarching motto –"prevention is better than cure". Vaccination is fully
coherent with this new approach.
Vaccination against bluetongue calls
for a strong and sustained effort requiring the dedication of adequate financial
resources. I trust that this essential demand will be met.
For its part,
the Community stands ready to contribute. I am pleased to announce that my
services have agreed with those of Commissioner Fischer-Boel that Community
agricultural funds will be made available to reimburse Member States'
expenditure in relation to an emergency vaccination campaign in 2008.
principle, 100% of the costs of the purchase of the vaccine and 50% of the costs
of the application of the vaccine will be covered by the Community budget,
subject to certain ceilings for these operational costs.
vaccination campaigns in subsequent years would fall under the framework of the
Community co-financed eradication programmes.
With estimates of the
number of vaccine doses required ranging from 150 to 200 million, this clearly
represents an important financial commitment and is a signal of the Commission's
attachment to the principle of prevention.
Armed with this knowledge,
the Commission now urges the Member States concerned to complete as soon as
possible the necessary tendering procedures and place actual orders for the
vaccines which are now becoming available, so that they are ready to go when the
The responsibility for many of the tasks involved falls to
the Competent Authorities of the Member States.
We count on all of you.
This is a shared endeavour. A full commitment from all competent authorities and
stakeholders is vital for the emergency vaccination initiative to succeed.
Only a harmonised approach to vaccination across the entire European
Union will give rise to the outcome that all of us want to see.
that key issues such as the coverage of this vaccination campaign, the calendar
of implementation and the vaccines to be used will be addressed by this
conference in a productive way.
I hope and expect that by the end of
today we will have the outline of a European strategy for vaccination against
bluetongue, based on the support and contribution of the experts.
trust that the implementation of this strategy – supported by adequate resources
from the Community and the Member States – will make a major contribution
towards controlling bluetongue, thus improving the health and welfare of the
susceptible animals and limiting potential losses for the farming community in