Bratislava, January 17 (TASR) – Maria Brozmanova of the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU in Brussels, who’s in charge of health affairs at the office, has stated for TASR TV that the aim of a European Health Union (EHU) will be to provide better and more effective reactions to future health threats.
During the discussion, Brozmanova stressed the need to complete the EHU, which is among the topics being discussed at the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE).
According to Brozmanova, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of coordination between European countries in order to protect public health. In this context, she noted that the EU is aware of the need to strengthen the level of preparations of all EU-member states in the area of health. “The European Health Union package has been tabled to strengthen the future level of preparations of the whole Union and all member states so that we can better and more effectively respond to future health threats,” she explained.
In her opinion, the EHU can be viewed as a first step towards strengthening the EU’s powers in the field of health. At the same time, she stressed that health falls exclusively under the powers of individual EU-member states. “The package concerning the European Health Union includes, for example, a revision of the regulation on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The idea has been to strengthen the ECDC’s powers so that it can better monitor the situation in EU-member countries and better cooperate with the World Health Organisation [WHO] and also with third countries,” she said.
“The revision also includes a regulation to strengthen the powers of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to provide and also to better monitor the distribution of medical devices and medicines. Last but not least is a regulation on cross-border health threats, which allows for the declaration of an emergency at the EU level – which is absolutely key – and also for developing an EU preparation plan to complement national preparation plans for future cross-border health threats,” the expert stated.
In addition, she mentioned a regulation on activating an emergency framework that will set up a new European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).
Brozmanova admitted that the EU’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic was “ragged”. President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen conceded the same in late 2020.
The Slovak expert remarked in this vein that the European Health Union is von der Leyen’s personal initiative. “Because she’s a doctor herself and health was a priority for her even before the pandemic, she proposed building a European Health Union,” said Brozmanova.