The European Commission is building a strong European Health Union, in which all EU countries prepare and respond together to health crises, medical supplies are available, affordable and innovative, and countries work together to improve prevention, treatment and aftercare for diseases such as cancer. The European Health Union will

  • better protect the health of our citizens
  • equip the EU and its Member States to better prevent and address future pandemics
  • improve resilience of Europe’s health systems 

Lessons from the coronavirus pandemic

The pandemic shows the importance of coordination among European countries. To strengthen our crisis preparedness and management of cross-border health threats, the Commission is proposing to:

  • declare emergency situations at EU-level to ensure EU measures
  • take risk management decisions at EU level
  • harmonise EU, national and regional preparedness plans
  • regularly audit and stress-test preparedness plans
  • monitor supply of medicines and medical devices and mitigate shortages.

Strengthening our medical and scientific agencies

Stronger common preparedness and response will rely on greater input from EU agencies with the technical expertise to support common preparedness and response. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will:

  • monitor infectious disease outbreaks based on common standards and definitions
  • do better risk analysis, modelling and assessment of health care capacities for specialised treatments
  • issue recommendations for response
  • mobilise and deploy an EU Health Task Force to help local response in the Member States

The European Medicines Agency (EMA)’s role in crisis management will be to:

  • monitor and mitigate shortages of medicines and medical devices
  • coordinate and advise on medicines with potential to treat, prevent or diagnose diseases that cause crisis
  • coordinate studies and clinical trials to monitor the effectiveness and safety of vaccines

The Commission also launched a debate on a new authority that will work on EU health emergency preparedness and response. Such a new authority would support our capacity to respond to cross-border chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats; epidemics; emerging diseases and pandemic influenza.

EU initiatives

Timeline

Documents

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