“The COVID19 pandemic has shown how fragile our health systems are. We need to substantially strengthen our healthcare systems and develop the EU’s emergency and disaster response capacities. Today’s vote to set up a European Health Emergency Mechanism is a step in the right direction.” Birgitta Sacrédeus, welcomed the adoption of her Opinion by the Commission for Natural Resources which is responsible for public health policy.

The rapporteur said the European Committee of the Regions proposed to set up a Health Emergency Mechanism to ensure effective cooperation and coordination at EU, national, regional and local level, to coordinate distribution of medical equipment and to improve essential medical supply across Europe, among other things. Explaining the need of the mechanism Sacrédeus said “We need the right mechanism when crisis like the COVID-19 occur. We have to be able to handle these emergencies. This is why we proposed an EU Emergency Mechanism because we believe that more cooperation on health is needed across villages, cities and regions.”

Sacrédeus who is a member of Dalarna County Council recalled that many Member States have opted to give local and regional authorities primary responsibility for health, care and public health and thanked cities and regions for the role they are playing to fight the pandemic. In this regard she reiterated that more coordination in spirit of subsidiarity, both locally and regionally will help us be better prepared in the future. Her opinion proposes that in cooperation with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Member States must review and update their pandemic plans engaging local and regional authorities.

Sacrédeus said that the COVID-19 outbreak that hit Europe and the rest of the world in 2020 has not only led to very high rates of sickness and death, but has also had major economic and social consequences of which nobody yet has a full overview. Speaking during a NAT commission meeting held online the Rapporteur said “Strong and modern healthcare policy goes hand in hand with healthy finances. Healthy finances provide the basis for a quality public healthcare and good social services.”

The opinion will now be voted in the 139th Plenary session taking place Between 30th June and 2nd July.

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