“The European Union has developed capacities to manage health crises and to tackle serious cross-border health threats. However, until now, threats emerging from biological, chemical and environmental events are not addressed in the same way as those from communicable diseases.
The Commission has, therefore, adopted on 8 December 2011 a legal proposal for a Decision on serious cross-border threats to health to provide for a fully co-ordinated response in the event of a crisis. Building on lessons learned with recent crises such as the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 and on existing structures, the measures covered by this proposal include to extend the assessment of risks and the existing co-ordination mechanism for communicable diseases to all types of health threats, and to reinforce the mandate of the Health Security Committee to better co-ordinate measures to fight a health crisis.
The initiative foresees that every Member State coordinates its efforts to develop, strengthen and maintain its national preparedness and response plan, in consultation with other Member States. It provides a basis for joint voluntary purchasing of vaccines and other medical countermeasures. In addition, the initiative establishes means to recognise a European “health emergency situation” for the purpose of making medicines faster available, and enables the Commission to adopt, in very specific emergency situations, emergency cross-border measures.”