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From reaction to action: How the EU can step up its role in global pandemics

Healthcare / POLICY BRIEF
Claire Dhéret , Simona Guagliardo

Date: 14/07/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the unpreparedness of European health systems to absorb a health crisis of this magnitude. In order to fix these existing structural weaknesses and effectively deal with the health challenges brought on by the current pandemic, we need to build a ‘Europe of Health’; an EU public health policy that works across borders and lives up to its citizens’ expectations. 

Following on from the Franco-German initiative for European recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Claire Dhéret and Simona Guagliardo outline a twofold strategy to foster ‘EU health sovereignty’ and reinforce the EU’s international leadership in health at a time when multilateralism is seriously jeopardised:

  • Foster EU health crisis management capabilities by empowering existing structures, prepare a European stockpile of strategic medical products and equipment, and make better use of the Single Market in the area of health.

  • Strengthen the resilience of national health systems by promoting modern, innovative and patient-centred care, and encourage the creation and use of a common, EU-wide evaluation framework for health care.

Drawing on the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis is essential, as the pandemic is far from over and the risk of future epidemics is evident. Strong and credible EU-level governance mechanisms are necessary to ensure a rapid reaction from relevant authorities, and effective monitoring of implemented measures and adequate coordination among the relevant stakeholders, regions and member states.

Read the full paper here
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