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News announcement3 July 2013Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety

The European Parliament votes in favour of the EU Decision on serious cross-border threats to health

The European Parliament votes in favour of the EU Decision on serious cross-border threats to health

On 3 July 2013, The European Parliament adopted the Commission proposal for a Decision on serious cross-border threats to health.

The adoption of this Decision is a big step forward in improving health security in the European Union and protecting citizens from a wide range of health threats. It will help Member States to prepare for and to protect citizens against possible future pandemics and serious cross border threats caused by communicable diseases, chemical, biological or environmental events.

In order to enter into force, the draft decision still needs to be approved by the Council.

Statement by Commissioner Borg: "Health: Major step forward in tackling serious cross-border health threats"

FAQ: Serious Cross-border Threats to Health Decision

Personally Speaking by Commissioner Borg

More information on the proposal

On 8 December 2011, the European Commission adopted a legal proposal to better protect European citizens from a wide range of serious cross-border health threats. These can be biological, chemical or environmental in nature. Existing rules on preparing for and managing health emergencies will be strengthened and the Health Security Committee will be given a stronger mandate to react in a crisis.

Press material

Key documents

Monitoring, early warning, and responsive measures to combat serious cross-border threats to health are essential elements to ensuring a high level of health protection in the European Union.EU action in this area is primarily intended to support and complement actions taken by individual EU countries.

Communicable diseases, biological or chemical agents, and environmental factors all have the potential to result in serious cross-border threats. Antimicrobial resistance is also a growing public health problem that requires an adequate level of preparedness and response.

Although rates of infectious diseases in the EU have fallen or remained stable in recent years, the pandemic influenza (H1N1) in 2009, the 2011 E. Coli outbreak in Germany, the Ebola virus in 2014, or Zika in 2016 all show that new infections can emerge at any time.

EU Cross-border Action

An early EU-wide response is therefore important in addressing serious cross-border health threats as soon as they emerge. A key milestone in building a stronger EU health security framework was the adoption of a Decision in 2013 to improve preparedness and strengthen capacity for a coordinated response to health emergencies.

This legislation was an important step forward in improving health security in the EU and in protecting citizens from a wide range of health threats. It supports EU countries to prepare for and protect citizens against possible future pandemics and serious cross-border threats by:

  • Strengtheningpreparedness planning capacity at EU level by reinforcing co-ordination and best practice and information sharing on national preparedness planning
  • Improving risk assessment and management of cross-border health threats including for non-communicable diseases for which no EU Agency is in charge
  • Establishing the necessary arrangements for the development and implementation of a joint procurement of medical countermeasures
  • Enhancing the coordination of an EU-wide response by providing a solid legal mandate to the Health Security Committee to co-ordinate preparedness
  • Strengthening the coordination of risk and crisis communication, and fostering international cooperation

Video - Crisis Management for health threats in the EU

 

The video is available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish

Related Information

Details

Publication date
3 July 2013
Author
Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety