Antimicrobial Resistance

Action at EU Level

Action at EU Level

The EU - active on AMR for more than 15 years - strives to bring about behaviour change and tackle this pressing issue within a "One Health" approach.

The new EU One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance

In June 2017 the Commission adopted the new EU One Health Action Plan against AMR. It was requested by the Member States in the Council conclusions of 17 June 2016. It builds on the 2011 action plan, its evaluation, the feedback received on a European Commission Roadmap on AMR and an open public consultation.

This new plan supports the EU and its Member States in delivering innovative, effective and sustainable responses to AMR; strategically reinforce the research agenda on AMR and enable the EU to actively promote global action and play a leading role in the fight against AMR. Its overarching goal is to preserve the possibility of effective treatment of infections in humans and animals. It provides a framework for continued, more extensive action to reduce the emergence and spread of AMR and to increase the development and availability of new effective antimicrobials inside and outside the EU.

The key objectives of this new plan are built on three main pillars:

1. Making the EU a best practice region

2. Boosting research, development and innovation

3. Shaping the global agenda

The new plan contains concrete actions with EU added value that the Commission will develop and strengthen as appropriate in the coming years for a more integrated, comprehensive and effective approach to combating AMR. A progress report on its implementation is available here. This progress report will be regularly updated.

The Commission has also adopted the first deliverable of the plan: the EU Guidelines on the prudent use of antimicrobials in human health (all languages available). The guidelines aim to reduce inappropriate use and promote prudent use of antimicrobials in people. They target all actors who are responsible for or play a role in antimicrobial use.

Commission's Action Plan (2011-2016)

The Commission's 2011 Action Plan against the rising threats from AMR contains 12 actions for implementation with EU Member States and identifies 7 areas where measures are most needed:

  • making sure antimicrobials are used appropriately in both humans and animals
  • preventing microbial infections and their spread
  • developing new effective antimicrobials or alternatives for treatment
  • cooperating with international partners to contain the risks of AMR
  • improving monitoring and surveillance in human and animal medicine
  • promoting research and innovation
  • improving communication, education and training

The evaluation of the Action Plan - published in October 2016 by the Commission (please find here the Executive Summary) - shows that this had a clear added value acting as a symbol of political commitment, stimulating several actions within Member States, and has served to strengthen international cooperation. The Action Plan has also provided a framework to guide and coordinate activities on AMR at international level in the area of monitoring and surveillance and on R&D. This factsheet summarizes the main points of this evaluation.

Furthermore, there is also an external report available regarding the Evaluation of the EC Action Plan against the rising threats from antimicrobial resistance (and appendices).

Prior to this evaluation a Progress Report on the AMR Action Plan (2011-2016) was published in February 2015 which showed the state of play of the steps taken to address this issue.

The Commission has also compiled a detailed overview of the 12 Actions covered by the Action Plan in a Road Map (updated on November 2016), including the operational objectives, the concrete activities and the deadlines.

Raising Awareness

Reducing the overuse and misuse of antimicrobial medicines is vital to stop the appearance of resistant microorganisms. Among other good practices, the following ones are key to tackle this problem:

  • Better prescribing practices (including prescribing antibiotics only when required)
  • Stop self-medication in countries in which antimicrobial medicines are freely available
  • Respect the dosages
  • Stop the overuse and misuse of antimicrobial medicines in agriculture and the veterinary field

To raise awareness about this issue, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) founded the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) which aims to provide a platform and support for national campaigns about prudent antibiotic use. Over the years, European Antibiotic Awareness Day - marked annually in November together with the World Antibiotic Awareness Week organised by WHO - has developed into a platform of global reach, partnering up with many countries outside the EU as well as relevant stakeholders, in line with the Commission's "One-Health" approach to AMR.


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EU Actions and Legislation

Surveillance and Audits