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05 May 2021

As a member of the EU4Health Civil Society Alliance (EU4Health CSA), EFA helped pen a letter to the Council of the European Union advocating for the expansion of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) mandate. An expanded mandate for the ECDC would allow the agency to monitor and guide the treatment and prevention of chronic, non-communicable conditions such as allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Under the current mandate, the ECDC is responsible for the monitoring, assessment and communication of infectious health threats at the EU level, as well as providing capacity support for related national health activities. The work of the agency has proven fundamental during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the ECDC was the only body looking at the evolution of the virus at EU level.

However, EFA and several other signatories believe this current mandate is far too limited. It excludes non-communicable diseases including many chronic conditions such as allergy, asthma and COPD, and inadvertently results in isolated information and resources, both across medical disciplines and the EU itself. An expanded and comprehensive mandate would close these gaps and also empower the ECDC to monitor national health systems’ capacity for chronic disease care.

This joint letter is supplemental to the calls that EFA has made to the European Commission through the public consultation on the regulation proposal to renew ECDC, as we reported in April.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the interconnected nature of communicable and non-communicable diseases and thus, the health systems on which patients rely. Moreover, it has revealed that health is not bound by borders but is rather a shared responsibility between Member States and the EU. An expanded ECDC mandate is necessary to address the urgencies that together we face, to build a stronger, healthier, and more resilient Europe.  

Read the full joint letter by EU4Health Civil Society Alliance and the European Chronic Disease Alliance among other signatories.

Read more about the EU4Health CSA here.