Extension of the mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

In “Promoting our European Way of Life”

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On 11 November 2020, as part of building a European Health Union, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal to extend the mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The initiative is among the first steps towards building the European health union announced by President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union address. The proposals put forward aim to strengthen the EU's health security framework, and to reinforce the crisis preparedness and response role of key EU agencies.

As the Commission points out, the ECDC and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have been at the forefront of the EU's work to address the coronavirus pandemic. However, Covid-19 has shown that both agencies need to be reinforced and equipped with stronger mandates to better protect EU citizens and address cross-border health threats.

The ECDC's mandate will be reinforced so that it may support the Commission and the Member States in the following areas:

  • epidemiological surveillance via integrated systems enabling real-time surveillance;
  • preparedness and response planning, reporting and auditing;
  • provision of non-binding recommendations and options for risk management;
  • capacity to mobilise and deploy an EU Health Task Force to assist local response in the Member States;
  • building a network of EU reference laboratories and a network for substances of human origin.

Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) is responsible for the file. The rapporteur, Joanna Kopcińska (ECR, Poland), was appointed on 14 December 2020. She presented her draft report in the ENVI committee meeting of 23 March 2021, proposing several amendments to the Commission proposal. Further amendments were tabled on 13 April 2021. The final ENVI vote took place on 29 June 2021.

The Council agreed its negotiating position on 23 July 2021.

Parliament's plenary adopted the text on 14 September 2021 (with 598 votes in favour, 84 against and 13 abstentions).

The third interinstitutional trilogue negotiations meeting took place on 29 November 2021. On that day Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the proposal.

The ECDC will coordinate the standardisation of data collection procedures, data validation, analysis and dissemination of data at EU level. It will also develop risk assessments and maintain databases for epidemiological surveillance and work towards harmonised approaches to data collection and modelling in order to produce comparable EU-wide data.

The Centre will cooperate with the European Commission, national authorities and relevant EU bodies and agencies to ensure their respective activities are consistent and complement each other. It will also work in close cooperation with international organisations in the field of public health, in order to avoid duplication of efforts.

The Centre will also establish an EU Health Task Force of experts to assist with preparedness and response planning as well as with local response to outbreaks, in coordination with the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism and other international mechanisms; monitor the capacity of national health systems to detect, prevent, respond to and recover from communicable disease outbreaks, identify gaps and provide science-based recommendations; organise visits to the Member States to provide additional support to the national preparedness and response planning activities; ensure that experts and stakeholders, including civil society organisations, contribute to its advisory work; provide technical and scientific assistance to national authorities to develop their capacity to detect and sequence the genomes of infectious agents; monitor the uptake of vaccination against major communicable diseases across the EU, taking into account the specificities of national and regional vaccination schedules; facilitate fighting against misinformation on vaccination and the causes of vaccine hesitancy.

The agreed text was endorsed by ENVI on 13 January 2022.

A vote in plenary took place on 4 October 2022 (with 542 votes in favour, 43 against and 9 abstentions).

The text was formally endorsed by Council on 24 October 2022.

The signature took place on 23 November 2022.

Regulation (EU) 2022/2370 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 November 2022 amending Regulation (EC) No 851/2004 establishing a European centre for disease prevention and control was published on 6 December 2022. It entered into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official journal of the European Union.


Further reading:

Author: Laurence Amand-Eeckhout, Members' Research Service, legislative-train@europarl.europa.eu

Visit the European Parliament homepage on EU health policy.

As of 20/05/2023.