Europe must become more ambitious in the health battle

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The coronavirus pandemic highlights the strengths of the European Union, but also its weaknesses. Pénélope Debreu calls for a strengthening of the European response to health issues.

Coronavirus: what next? franceinfo opens the debate. A large-scale exchange to stimulate and share questions, ideas, testimonies and open the debate as widely as possible on tomorrow’s solutions: # AndAfter, what needs to change? This contribution is signed by Penelope Debreu, co-coordinator of the Terra Nova Europe pole.


#And after. The European Union does not have its own competences in the field of health, and yet, as best it can, it is coordinating in the management of the Covid-19 crisis, and not simply to limit the socio-economic impacts of the crisis. The multiple measures taken show that the EU has the capacity to react to health crises. But the failures and weaknesses also show that the EU must be equipped with considerably strengthened capacities.

It will be essential to strengthen European capacities for coordinated management of epidemic crises. For better preparation, several additional avenues are possible: detailed supervision of national capacities to manage epidemics, creation of a European capacity to purchase and store essential materials and medicines, an alert mechanism and a new agreement. international health. During a crisis, the EU will have to synchronize and harmonize the response measures taken by the States, systematically use the European civil protection mechanism and launch joint calls for tenders for the emergency supply of medicines and medical equipment .

Three other fields are equally essential. On the one hand, rebuild a European drug and medical device industry. This involves both recreating a complete industry and systematic surveillance of foreign investment to protect this industry from the appetites of non-European investors or speculators. On the other hand, it will be necessary for the States to reinvest massively in hospital structures and for this, that the EU as a whole should make these expenses a priority of budgetary coordination under the Stability Pact. Finally, restrictions on the movement of people will have to be managed according to harmonized criteria based on a health and European logic.

>> Go further: “Health Europe does not exist? Yes, but it can do much better”, Terra Nova, April 8, 2020.

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