Socialists back increased cooperation to improve pandemic preparedness

11/10/2021

The EU and its Member States must do more to be ready for new cross-border threats to health, ministers from the Party of European Socialists agreed today as they discussed the new EU initiatives to increase pandemic preparedness.

Socialist and democratic health ministers met by videoconference this morning for an open discussion on future initiatives to strengthen the tools at the disposal of the European Commission and the Member States to ensure medicines remain available in emergency situations, including the new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

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

“The accessibility and affordability of medicines is a long-term challenge for the sustainability of our public healthcare systems. Member States, the Commission and industry should work closely together to improve resilience, in full transparency with the European Parliament and the citizens.

“We should be proud of the success of the vaccine rollout in most Member States, but the fight against COVID-19 is not over. We must redouble our international solidarity towards those that are struggling to deliver vaccines to their citizens, especially in developing countries.”

Ministers also took stock of the progression of the COVID-19 vaccination. They discussed the difficulties associated with vaccine hesitancy in many Member States and shared insights on how to reach out to sceptical citizens and more marginalised communities.

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
  • Chris Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Malta
  • Jytte Guteland, MEP, S&D Group coordinator in the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, S&D Group
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES