Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

The European Parliament has adopted ECR Rapporteur Joanna Kopcińska’s report on the extension of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) mandate. In future, the ECDC will be able to survey epidemics via integrated systems, and provide recommendations for risk management.

It will have the capacity to mobilise and deploy an EU Health Task Force to assist local response in the member states and to set up medical networks, such as EU reference laboratories, to deal with future health challenges. Rapporteur  Kopcińska hopes this will serve to create better synergies and trust between EU institutions and member states’ competent authorities – something the EU clearly fell short of at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the results of the vote, Ms Kopcińska said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated that our provisions for managing emerging health threats must be more structured and offer precise actions for future health crises at the Union level. The work on the ECDC’s expanded mandate has therefore become central to the EU’s concern.

“In terms of priorities, Parliament has focused on several key elements to strengthen the Centre’s preparedness, namely improving data reporting and ensuring reliable epidemiological risk assessments.

“As regards strengthening the Centre’s preparedness, we believe that preparedness plans and recommendations for health crises and pandemics in the EU must respect the competences and responsibilities as laid out in the EU Treaties, and be based on indicators developed in cooperation with the Member States. That is why we emphasise responsibility and competence within the report, as it is ultimately the Member States that will have to implement the Centre’s recommendations.”

The report was adopted by 598 in favour 84 against and 13 abstentions.

Note to the editor: Ms Kopcińska was represented in the plenary debate on Monday afternoon by Spanish ECR MEP Margarita de la Pisa Carrión.