Socialist back stronger EU agencies to safeguard citizens’ health

14/06/2021

PES health ministerial meeting by videoconference

PES health ministerial meeting by videoconference

The EU must begin increasing its preparedness for future cross-border health threats, ministers from the Party of European Socialists agreed today as they vowed to support the strengthening of European agencies such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Socialist and democratic health ministers met by videoconference this morning to discuss EU Council proposals to reinforce the role of the EMA, as well as the broader actions the EU must take to address the global challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meeting Chair, Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren, said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has proven the important role of the EMA and the ECDC in ensuring a united response to health crises. Cross-border health threats may arise again, and we must be ready.

“To protect citizens and ensure quality healthcare is available for all it is important now that we discuss how EU agencies can be strengthened, so we are even better equipped to react together in future. We must ensure we are prepared for all eventualities.

“Effective cooperation across Member States is necessary to control the disease in Europe as we roll out vaccines. We also have a collective responsibility to continue contributing to COVID-19 immunisation as global public good by supporting COVAX and other initiatives. Until all countries are able to control the disease, the global recovery will not be possible.”

Ministers discussed the global fight against COVID-19, including the health and socio-economic crisis that has emerged and which is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable. The meeting agreed that a full worldwide recovery depends on extensive COVID-19 immunisation as a global public good. Ministers expressed support for COVAX and other efforts to ensure countries in need can access vaccines and other safe, effective and affordable health tools.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Lena Hallengren, Chair, Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Sweden
  • Magnus Heunicke, Minister for Health and Elderly Affairs, Denmark
  • Roberto Speranza, Minister of Health, Italy
  • Marta Temido, Minister for Health, Portugal
  • Carolina Darias, Minister for Health, Spain
  • Heléne Fritzon, MEP, Vice President of the S&D Group, S&D Group
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES