BRUSSELS, 30 Nov. (EUROPA PRESS) –
Negotiators in the European Parliament and the 27 have reached a political agreement to extend the mandate of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which in practice implies a commitment to strengthen the capacity of surveillance, prevention and reaction of the European Union.
The European agency has the vocation of coordinating and supporting member states in the fight against infectious diseases, for example by gathering information on epidemics or offering scientific advice and training.
However, the differences in the response of national authorities to the coronavirus pandemic and the lack of coordination between capitals led the European Commission to demand more powers for the ECDC in the face of future health crises.
Thus, the update of the agency will allow the creation of a unit of European experts (or ‘task-force’) in health matters to offer better support to the reaction at the local level to the detection of a disease and advise both the Member States and to the European Commission in the preparation of prevention plans.
In addition, ECDC will have to develop digital platforms that facilitate epidemiological surveillance in the EU territory, while looking to establish closer cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and strengthen data protection so that personal medical data is not processed or disclosed except in very exceptional cases.
In this way, for example, ECDC will help better align and coordinate WHO recommendations and actions with strategies in European countries to ensure “coherence and complementarity” in responding to future crises, as reported by the Council in a release.
“With the arrival of a new wave that hits hard, we must look ahead and plan for the future. This pandemic shows that we need a better understanding of cross-border threats to health, updated plans and more coordination,” said the Slovenian Minister of Health. and the presidency of the EU, Janez Poklukar.
The Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, and the Vice President of the Community Executive Margaritis Schinas have celebrated the agreement because they consider it an endorsement of the need to move towards a “Health Union” that has all the necessary tools to react to health risks serious.
However, they have warned that another key pillar of this strategy still under negotiation remains to be resolved, which is the creation of the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).
“A political agreement is necessary as soon as possible,” Kyriakides and Schinas have claimed, and then appeal to the “responsibility” of the European Parliament and the Twenty-seven to resolve the HERA negotiation, which Brussels asks to endow with 6,000 million euros up to 2027.