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SOTEU: Investments and a new health emergency authority to strengthen the EU health union

SOTEU: Investments and a new health emergency authority to strengthen the EU health union
16 September 2021

Speaking to the European Parliament for her annual State of the Union speech, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced important innovations for the future of the European Health policy.

She proposed “a new health preparedness and resilience mission for the whole of the EU” to ensure that “no virus will ever turn a local epidemic into a global pandemic”, affirming that such a commitment should be backed up by Team Europe with an investment of 50 billion by 2027.

As part of the commitment to “deal with future threats earlier and better”, President von der Leyen announced that she would propose the institution of a new Health Emergency preparedness and response Authority (HERA). The new EU agency aims to strengthen the Union’s ability to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to cross-border health emergencies. In pursuing this aim, HERA will be tasked with the development, manufacturing, procurement, and distribution of key medical countermeasures. Following the public consultation carried out during the first semester of 2021, a concrete proposal on this matter is expected in the coming days and the new authority is expected to be fully operational in 2022.

During her speech she also praised Europe’s efforts in terms of vaccination, highlighting that the EU was the only global actor that shared half of the vaccine production with 700 million doses exported to over 130 countries worldwide. This effort will be continued with the donation of another 200 million doses by the first half of 2022.

Image © European Commission, 2021

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