Health emergency response governance in the EU after the COVID-19 pandemic

More than four years on since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, this paper provides an assessment of reforms implemented at EU level to enhance the EU’s preparedness and response to future health threats. The EU has made significant strides towards greater integration and cohesion, with plans to amend EU Treaties to bolster EU-level competences in health matters. However, there are still uncertainties around crucial issues such as determining the coordinating institution or body during a health emergency, data collection for existing and required countermeasures, funding sources for procurement and medical countermeasure development, fund management, and effective communication strategies during a health emergency. These aspects must be addressed if lives are to be saved in the future. It may require more than mere legislative adjustments, for example, rigorous stress-testing of existing rules through simulations and preparedness exercises.

This paper received funding from Belgium’s SPF Santé Publique, under the framework of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.