Crisis preparedness and response


EU policy seeks to protect Europeans from a wide range of serious health threats that have impacts across national borders and so may be more effectively tackled by Europe-wide cooperation than by individual EU governments acting alone.

These threats can come from agents that cause communicable diseases  or other biological or chemical agents, or be environmental, for example caused by climate change.

EU action is largely about promoting coordination between member governments, for example through guidelines or sharing best practice.

In collaboration with governments, the EU has established a number of mechanisms for a coordinated, Europe-wide response in the following areas:

Analysis of health threats

EU policy is based on the analysis of how to deal with these threats, as set out in these documents:


The EU has adopted a Decision to improve preparedness planning for serious cross-border health threats across the EU and strengthen the capacity to coordinate response to health emergencies.

Legal basis

The Lisbon Treaty  – in its Article 168 – introduced new powers for the EU to take action to combat serious cross-border health threats, complementing national policies.