The majority of MEPs voted on Tuesday to support the decision to give the European Commission the ability declare a public health state of emergency at the EU level, which was proposed as to enable a "stronger response to health crises" in the EU, state agency Hina said.
With 542 votes in favour, 43 against and 9 abstentions, MEPs supported the agreement with the Council giving greater powers to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), as well as a series of measures for a better response to serious cross-border threats to health, with 544 votes in favour, 50 against and 10 abstentions.
The Commission will now be able to declare a state of emergency in the field of public health at the EU level and launch mechanisms to monitor drug shortages or activate support from the ECDC, which will cooperate with the EC, national and European bodies and international organisations to ensure their compliance.
“The European Union will be able to declare a state of emergency even without the World Health Organization in the event of a pandemic, in the event of a health crisis. This allows all newly established mechanisms to be used. One of the most important of these is the joint procurement of medicines and medical equipment,” Hina quoted the Croatian MEP Tomislav Sokol (HDZ/EPP) as saying.
At the same time, it will be possible to limit parallel procurement and negotiation for products jointly procured at the EU level.
“A single European procurement policy is in Croatia’s national interest so that all countries receive medical equipment and medicines at the same time and under equal conditions, and that those who need them the most get them first,” Sokol told Hina.
MEP Biljana Borzan (S&D/SDP) told Hina that “in emergency situations, it is unacceptable that each EU member responds in its own way.”