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With two new building blocks of the European Health Union set and ready, the EU now better equipped to face pandemics


06 Oct 2022


Health & Consumers

The European Parliament today endorsed two new building blocks of the European Health Union* - the enhanced European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and the reinforced legislation on serious cross-border health threats. The S&Ds underline that both will significantly strengthen the European Union’s capacity to prepare for and cope with health crises, notably pandemics such as Covid-19.

Sándor Rónai MEP, S&D’s shadow rapporteur on the ECDC file, said:

“Strengthening the role of the ECDC is key in preparing the EU for possible future pandemics and also to ensure that the current Covid-19 pandemic is appropriately dealt with. The centre will now be able to better support the European Commission and the member states in many areas, notably in epidemiological surveillance as well as preparedness and response planning.

“The S&Ds managed to improve the legislation significantly by insisting on: a holistic approach to health, strengthening of transparency and inclusion of civil society, promptness of information sharing, and guaranteeing the comparability and digitalisation of data.”

Sara Cerdas MEP, S&D’s shadow rapporteur on the serious cross-border health threats file, said:

“The reinforced European rules on serious cross-border health threats will ensure effective planning and coordination on prevention, preparedness, and response at EU and national level. For example, the Commission will now be able to formally recognise a public health emergency at the EU level, which would trigger stronger intra-EU cooperation.

“We managed to introduce key provisions to guarantee a truly holistic approach to health and to improve the framework of prevention, preparedness, and response in relation to current and future health threats. Furthermore, in tough negotiations with the member states we succeeded to maintain clear provisions on transparency and joint procurement.”

*Note to editors:

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Commission proposed legislation for the first three building blocks of the European Health Union in November 2020. Besides the ECDC and serious cross-border health threats, it also included the strengthening of the role of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The Parliament approved the enhanced EMA in the beginning of the year. The aim of this package is to build a stronger and more comprehensive legal framework to allow the Union to better prepare for, and respond to, health crises.