BRUSSELS, Sept. 16 (Reuters) – The European Commission on Thursday launched a health crisis body that will coordinate EU spending of nearly 30 billion euros ($ 35.3 billion) to prepare for a future pandemic .
The new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) will assess potential health threats, promote research, ensure availability of critical production and help build stocks.
If a new health crisis arose, it would activate emergency funding and help coordinate monitoring, procurement and procurement of medical equipment or treatment.
The authority is in part designed to avoid a repetition of ad hoc measures taken by different EU countries at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of them ineffective, others to the detriment of other members of the EU.
The new body will complement other EU health agencies – the European Medicines Agency and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said the two agencies had been strengthened, but that was not enough.
“The two agencies have a very important role to play, but especially after the pandemic has hit us,” he said at a press conference.
“HERA will be our main instrument to coordinate preparation and, if necessary, (the) response … This is what we are lacking today.”
HERA, expected to be fully operational in early 2022, will have € 6 billion from the EU budget for 2022-2027, other programs bringing total EU health security spending to almost € 30 billion euros.
With the projects of individual EU members and companies, spending could total 50 billion euros.
($ 1 = 0.8508 euros)
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.