Better coordination among member states should help manage emergencies such as pandemics and other threats.
In crisis situations everyone is themselves next to each other – this was impressively demonstrated at the beginning of the corona pandemic in spring 2020, when Germany and France unceremoniously imposed an export ban on respiratory masks urgently needed elsewhere. Italy, where the virus had already spread at terrifying speed in those weeks, finally received the masks from far-away China – a sign of poverty for the Union. Overall, the EU gave the impression in the initial phase that it had slipped into the pandemic completely unprepared.
To prevent this from happening again in future health crises, the Commission wants to present a detailed concept for a European health authority (Hera) on Thursday, which – unlike the detached drug agency EMA – is to be integrated in the Brussels authority itself in order to “provide a rapid Commissioning ”to be guaranteed at the beginning of next year. The news site “Euractiv” has seen the decision of the EU Commission in advance. Accordingly, the task should consist of the “development, manufacture, procurement and fair distribution of important medical measures” in emergency situations. Antibiotics, medical equipment, chemical agents in the event of threats such as bioterrorism, diagnostic tests, personal protective equipment, as well as gloves and masks are provided for coping with health crises, according to the report.
From the mistakes of the past it has been learned that there is a problem with coordination among the member states – this is the point the health authority should focus on. Excessive dependencies among the EU countries should be eliminated as far as possible by balancing production and stockpiling so that each EU country can take short-term protective measures in an emergency.
“Covid-19 not last emergency”
“Covid-19 will not be the last health emergency in the world and not necessarily the worst,” “Euractiv” quotes the commission paper. So in Brussels they want to prepare for the next emergency – and don’t set the budget too tight for this: it has to be “comprehensive and sustainable”, according to the Commission. Initially, Hera is to be provided with six billion euros from the EU’s multi-annual budget.
(“Die Presse”, print edition, 16.09.2021)