As COVID-19 continues to spread across Europe, MEPs repeat call to strengthen the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in letters to the Commission and Croatian Presidency.

On behalf of political groups coordinators, the Chair of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, Pascal Canfin (Renew, FR), has written to the European Commission and the Croatian Presidency to reiterate Parliament’s call for a stronger role for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in order to ensure an effective and harmonised EU response to infectious diseases like the COVID-19.

“We welcome the package of urgent measures put forward by the Commission to tackle the effects of the outbreak, and to counter its impact on the EU economy, including the use of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and the Joint Procurement procedure under the cross-border health threat decision to ensure adequate supply of protective equipment across Europe.

It is, however, also essential that the ECDC’s competences are strengthened to enable it to continuously and thoroughly monitor medical observation, surveillance and intelligence data and to take fast and appropriate response measures that member states can implement directly. We regret that full-time staff in the ECDC were reduced by 20 in the period 2013-2018, but trust that the Commission and member states can find the necessary resources through the existing budgetary procedures to remedy this situation,” said Pascal Canfin.

Background

The EU agency ECDC was created in 2004 with the purpose of strengthening Europe's defences against infectious diseases. Parliament had already raised the need for a stronger ECDC in its report on the proposal for a regulation establishing the Centre. The call was reiterated in 2012, in the framework of the adoption of the Decision on serious cross-border threats to health.