Drawing lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, the EPP Group wants more health powers for the EU and will vote in favour of increasing cross-border health cooperation and of strengthening the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The European Parliament will debate today and vote tomorrow on the two new laws.
“One of the most important lessons that the pandemic taught us was to increase our cross-border cooperation. We need to be ready for the next crisis before it happens. That’s why the EPP Group has fought for cross-border preparedness planning. Pandemics do not stop at the border and neither should our response to them. We need to act now to ensure more cooperation and better coordination across all EU Member States”, said Esther de Lange MEP, Vice-Chairwoman of the EPP Group responsible for Economy and Environment and the EPP Group’s negotiator for cross-border health threats.
“We want the ECDC to not only monitor crises, but react with an ad hoc team of doctors and nurses, also on the ground, if needed. The agency must have more staff to prepare long-term strategies and coordinate the exchange of health information between Member States”, stressed Radan Kanev, the EPP Group MEP responsible for the dossier on the ECDC.
De Lange and Kanev recalled that with the improved rules, Europe will reduce its dependency on the World Health Organisation (WHO), which was slow in declaring the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. “If Europe needs to act, we must not delay measures and wait for the WHO. The European Union must be able to declare its own health emergencies”, they concluded.
On Thursday, the European Commission is also expected to propose the setting-up of an EU Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) which will make it easier for the European Union to purchase necessary materials such as vaccines in case of future health crises.