Following the lessons learned from the pandemic and as a part of building a European Health Union, the Commission proposed a new health security framework on 11 November 2020, based on the experience of dealing with COVID-19. The package includes three pieces of legislation: a stronger role for the European Medicines Agency, extending the mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and a proposal for a regulation on serious cross-border threats to health.
Parliament approved new measures strengthening the EU’s capacity to prevent and control the outbreak of communicable diseases and tackle cross-border health threats during the October I plenary session. The new legislation aims to strengthen the EU’s capacity to prevent, prepare for and manage communicable diseases outbreaks.The ECDC will cooperate with the European Commission, national authorities, EU bodies and international organisations to ensure their respective activities are consistent and complement each other.
The new rules concerning cross-border threats include improved prevention, preparedness and response planning at EU and national levels. The Commission will be able to formally recognise a public health emergency at EU level, which would trigger stronger intra-EU cooperation and allow for the timely development and stockpiling of medical countermeasures.
EU countries hold primary responsibility for organising and delivering health services and medical care. EU health policy therefore serves to complement national policies, and to ensure health protection in all EU policies. EU policies and actions in public health aim to protect and improve the health of EU citizens, support the modernisation of health infrastructure, improve the efficiency of Europe's health systems.
The Committee for Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety ENVI is Parliament’s main actor on health matters and is responsible for over 10% of Parliament´s total legislative activity.