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Key diary dates for the week include the European Buildings Performance Directive’s final agreement debate on Monday 11 March in the European Parliament’s plenary in Strasbourg, with a vote expected on Tuesday March 12. Additionally, the European Environment Agency will publish the first ever European climate risk assessment on the same day. On Thursday 14 March, MEPs will resume discussion on the Belgian presidency compromise on the European Health Data Space.

The European Health Data Space (EHDS) is the last outstanding file of this parliament’s mandate, with talks between EU lawmakers still ongoing. Belgium, which holds the EU Council presidency, is eager to clinch a deal as its presidency will otherwise have yielded no health files. Despite willingness on both sides, negotiations have collapsed recently due to differences on re-deploying health data for ‘secondary use’. The parliament mandate on this issue was approved last December, and negotiations have gone down to the wire with just four interinstitutional meetings completed so far.

Belgium’s health minister, Frank Vandenbroucke, has promised to put in maximum effort to reach a compromise on the European Health Data Space. However, not all member states are in favor of introducing the measure ‘at all costs’, limiting room for maneuver. Lead rapporteur Tomislav Sokol appears to have the support of the socialists in parliament, but a compromise must be reached on the remaining red line of patients’ right to opt-out of their health data being passed on to third parties. Further negotiations are expected to take place later this week to try and finalize a deal.

The stand-off over the European Health Data Space highlights the challenges of navigating complex issues surrounding data privacy and healthcare. Negotiations between EU lawmakers and member states continue to face obstacles, with disagreements on key issues impeding progress towards a final agreement. Despite goodwill on both sides, reaching a compromise on contentious issues such as secondary use of health data remains a key challenge.

The collapse of talks on the European Health Data Space underscores the urgent need for agreement on this important file before the end of the parliament’s mandate. With the European Buildings Performance Directive’s final agreement and the European climate risk assessment also on the agenda for the week, there is a renewed focus on key policy developments in the EU. As negotiations continue, all eyes will be on MEPs meeting later this week to see if a compromise can be reached on the European Health Data Space.

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