MEPs call for stronger ECDC mandate after Covid experience

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MEPs voted to extend the mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) was adopted with 598 votes in favour, 84 against and 13 abstentions.

EU member states, the EP said, should develop national preparedness and response plans, and provide timely, comparable and high quality data, MEPs say. They also want to ensure that the ECDC’s mandate is extended beyond communicable diseases to also cover major non-communicable diseases, like cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes or mental illness.

The legislative proposal to strengthen the EU’s crisis prevention, preparedness and response when addressing future serious cross-border health threats was adopted with 594 votes in favour, 85 against and 16 abstentions. The COVID-19 crisis revealed that further work at EU level is needed to support cooperation between member states, in particular border regions, MEPs stress. The text also calls for clear procedures and more transparency for EU joint procurement activities and related purchase agreements.

Rapporteur Joanna Kopcińska (ECR, PL) said: “Our proposals would improve cooperation, the exchange of information, expertise and best practices between member states and the Commission, the Health Security Committee and the ECDC itself. This will lead to better preparedness and response coordination when dealing with health challenges. We also agreed to step up analysis and modelling to support member states in the control of outbreaks by collecting and processing more epidemiological data, while upholding the key national competence for health protection.”
“The vision of ‘One Health’ in all European policies must guide our entire crisis anticipation and management system. The COVID-19 crisis shows how a public health issue can affect the proper functioning of every part of European society”, said Rapporteur Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (Renew, FR). “I fully support making a joint purchase procedure for medical products the standard. As far as negotiating with industry is concerned, the EU is stronger when it speaks with one voice, on behalf of all member states”, she added.

As part of building a European Health Union, on 11 November 2020 the Commission proposed a new health security framework, based on the experience dealing with the coronavirus. The package includes a proposal for a regulation on serious cross-border threats to health and a proposal to reinforce the mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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