Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety
Preparedness and response
Decision on serious cross-border threats to health
On 22 October 2013, the EU adopted a Decision to improve preparedness across the EU and strengthen the capacity to coordinate response to health emergencies. This Decision entered into force on 6 November 2013. Read the Statement by Commissioner Borg and the FAQ.
This new legislation is an important step forward in improving health security in the European Union and protecting citizens from a wide range of health threats. It will help Member States prepare for and protect citizens against possible future pandemics and serious cross-border threats caused by communicable diseases, chemical, biological or environmental events.
The Decision provides four major benefits:
to strengthen preparedness planning
The Decision strengthens preparedness planning capacity at EU level by re-enforcing co-ordination as well as sharing best practices and information on national preparedness planning. The aim is to ensure that all Member States are adequately prepared to face any crisis; and to reduce as far as possible the impact of any such event on health, society and the economy.
to improve risk assessment and management of cross-border health threats
The Decision also provides risk assessment for threats that are not communicable diseases and of which no EU Agency is in charge.
to establish the necessary arrangements for the development and implementation of a joint procurement of medical countermeasures
For the first time, the EU itself can trigger its pharmaceutical legislation to accelerate the provision of in the event of any health emergency, including pandemics.
to enhance the coordination of response at EU level by providing a solid legal mandate to the Health Security Committee
The Decision gives the Health Security Committee a solid legal footing in co-ordinating preparedness. In case of crisis, the HSC is now able to decide quickly on the coordination of national responses, communication messages to the public and to the healthcare professionals.