MEPs in Strasbourg today adopted new EU rules to strengthen cross-border cooperation to tackle serious cross border health threats such as influenza, coronavirus and E-coli.
As part of the strengthened cooperation framework, EU-wide health emergencies can be declared and a new voluntary mechanism will allow countries to club together to bulk-order vaccines.
Rebecca Taylor, Lib Dem European health spokesperson commented:
“Europe needs to be better prepared against outbreaks of communicable diseases such as avian flu or swine flu, but also against other health threats which can spread across borders such as those of a chemical, biological or environmental origin.
“The new rules mean that there will be more cooperation between EU countries in the planning, monitoring and response stages of tackling a health crisis.
“EU countries remain responsible for putting wide-ranging action plans in place, but are required to undertake risk-assessment procedures in a transparent way and to coordinate their responses to avoid the chaos of the 2011 E-coli outbreak where different EU countries blamed different vegetables for the outbreak before the facts were properly established, which was very confusing for citizens.”
“The framework will also be linked to the veterinary sector as animal health and zoonotic infections have been a factor in many recent cross-border health threats.”