The Environment and Public Health Committee of the European Parliament has proposed to boost the mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
This is in direct response to the pandemic to strengthen the remit of the ECDC.
As part of building a European Health Union, the Commission proposed in November 2020 a new health security framework fit for future health challenges, based on lessons learnt from combatting the coronavirus, which includes a proposal to reinforce the mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune, who is a Member of the Parliament’s Public Health Committee said that it is important that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control can be assisted to better anticipate, prepare for and manage future health threats.
MEP Clune said: “The ECDC must have more power to provide concrete help to Member States during pandemics and other health crises. We want to see better coordination across Europe when it comes to public health matters. As we move forward the ECDC must provide better support to countries across Europe, including Ireland in areas such as epidemiological surveillance, preparedness and response planning and reporting. We must ensure better coordination and involvement of member states when it comes to public health.”
In order to support the work of the ECDC, MEPs want to ensure that EU countries develop national preparedness and response plans, and provide timely, comparable and high quality data on the surveillance of communicable diseases.
MEP Clune said: “Now more than ever, health must come first. The pandemic has been a very difficult time for everyone but Member States, including Ireland must work together as we plan for the future and ensure better outcomes for all. We must step-up our cooperation and data sharing.”
MEPs said that the ECDC’s mandate should also cover major non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes and mental illness. The Centre should be tasked with assessing the impact infectious diseases have on health systems in general and the effect of these comorbidities, as observed during the COVID-19 pandemic.