On 16 February, the European Parliament voted in plenary session on the European Services Directive, including text stating that the Directive should not apply to "healthcare, whether or not it is provided via healthcare facilities, and regardless of the ways in which it is organised and financed at national level or whether it is public or private". The text takes on board the remarks made in the past months by the EU health community: in particular, more than 40 public health organisations subscribed the European Health Policy Forum recommendations on health services and the internal market. The document called for the exclusion of health services from the scope of the Services Directive, in view of examining these services within the framework of the ongoing debate on Services of General Interest. The text will now be examined by the Council of Ministers: if all amendments are accepted, the amended Directive will be approved and will become legally binding. If the Council rejects any of the amendments added by the Parliament, or further amends the text, the Directive will return to Parliament for a second reading. News courtesy of: EPHA

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