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S&Ds push for stronger pandemic protection measures for EU citizens


13 Jun 2023


Health & Consumers

The special committee on the Covid-19 pandemic has today adopted a comprehensive report, titled ‘COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned and Recommendations for the Future’.

The S&D Group have fought hard to ensure that the European Union is not only better equipped to respond to potential future health crises but also more adequately prepared. The report therefore makes recommendations to member states which cover much more than the health dimension of the pandemic and are structured around four distinct pillars: health, democracy and fundamental rights, socio-economic impact and, lastly, the EU and the world*.

The draft report, proposed by the negotiator of the conservative European People’s Party in March, made very general EU-level recommendations, without going into detail. Therefore, we managed to strengthen the text in all policy areas. To this end, 3170 amendments were tabled, out of which around 800 came from the S&D Group. 

Sara Cerdas, S&D coordinator of the European Parliament’s COVI committee, said:

“Today, we have approved a progressive report on the lessons learned from Covid-19, ensuring that the future of EU citizens is better protected and safeguarded against future pandemics. I welcome the strengthening of the original text in all four pillars, particularly on the social pillar; guaranteeing that social inequalities, which were aggravated during the pandemic, are robustly addressed.”

Alessandra Moretti, S&D negotiator, said:

"With this vote in the committee, the S&D Group has delivered on the promise to better prepare the EU for future pandemics. We have approved a comprehensive report calling for more resources to public healthcare systems, and for EU and national coordinated plans for health threats prevention and surveillance. We have also ensured a more socially-just response to support marginalised groups that suffered the consequences of the pandemics more, as well as a fair international system that promotes public interest and global access to medical countermeasures. This report will become the reference for future legislative measures and policy initiatives at both EU and national level, and we are proud of the progressive approach we have taken."

*Highlights from the report include:

  • Health Pillar: Emphasis on strengthening crisis response and a coordinated EU approach. Focus on the impact of the pandemic on other diseases, vaccine availability, mental health and health inequalities.
  • Democracy and Fundamental Rights: Addressing the spread of misinformation, transparent communication and ethical considerations for marginalised groups.
  • Socio-economic Pillar: Tackling societal inequalities, gender-based violence, impact on children's education, support for the elderly and economic recovery measures.
  • EU and World Pillar: Advocacy for fair access to vaccines and medical products globally, strengthening global health authorities, and promoting solidarity and capacity building.