Press Releases EPP Group: Strengthen ECDC and EMA to better address future pandemics

EPP Group: Strengthen ECDC and EMA to better address future pandemics

To draw the lessons from the current COVID pandemic, the EPP Group wants the European Union to become a true Health Union. To this end, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) must be given more responsibilities, more power and more staff. Furthermore, sanitary restrictions like lockdowns and border closures need more EU-wide consistency and coordination. The existing rules on cross-border health threats must be improved.

“Those who have always argued that health should remain a purely national competency were mistaken. After this pandemic, it is now crystal clear that no individual Member State could beat this virus alone. The ECDC must not only monitor the pandemic, but give recommendations to Member States, for example on what social distancing or lockdown measures are necessary”, said Peter Liese MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman for Health.

Today, the European Commission will propose which changes in the functioning of the EU are necessary to draw the lessons from COVID-19 and the Health Ministers of the EU Member States will back plans to strengthen the EMA and the ECDC.

“The EMA has to be able to anticipate and prevent shortages of critical medicines and medical devices in Europe. The EMA and the ECDC need the same capacities as national authorities. The lack of European coordination in the past year was also due to a lack of legal and physical capacities of the two agencies”, said Liese.

On the improvement of the existing rules on cross-border health threats, Liese stressed that Europe needs to be able to declare an EU emergency if needed and reduce European dependency on the World Health Organisation.

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