Health Security Committee

The Commission coordinates health security measures in the EU through its Health Security Committee (HSC). The HSC has representatives from all EU countries, and operates in 3 core areas: generic preparedness, influenza, and chemical, biological and radio-nuclear threats.

At EU level, the committee is the key mechanism for coordinating health security efforts. It is an informal cooperation and coordination body concentrating on health–related threats from terrorism or any deliberate release of biological or other agents, as well as raising levels of preparedness for cross-border threats, in particular for pandemic flu.

Who's on the committee?

Representatives from every national administration, the Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and other relevant Commission departments and agencies (e.g. ECDC, EMA).

Priority issues

Going beyond prevention and preparation, the committee's six priority areas are:

  • detection and communication – preparedness requires timely detection and rapid distribution of information to relevant stakeholders.
  • threat and risk assessment – HSC collects data on threats and risks from relevant EU agencies, and shares these with national authorities.
  • preparedness – HSC seeks to expand national capacity for preparedness by offering technical assistance and guidelines.
  • scientific advice – responding to a public health crisis requires rapid mobilisation of experts, and expert opinions are shared via alert and communication systems.
  • crisis management and testing of plans– with the help of national authorities the HSC has developed protocols and guidelines for best preparedness practices and has tested emergency plans through several exercises.
  • cooperation – HSC supports preparedness across sectors and internationally, supporting and promoting the WHO International Health Regulations and creating links between alert systems across Europe and more globally.

A more detailed description of the priorities and activities of the HSC can be found in the Commission Staff Working Document Health Security in the European Union and Internationallypdf(82 KB).

Examples of HSC activities