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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: During the pandemic and beyond

Written by Nicole Scholz,

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is a decentralised European Union (EU) agency based in Stockholm, Sweden. It began operating in 2005. Its mission is to identify, assess and communicate current and emerging threats to human health posed by infectious diseases.

The ECDC is governed by a management board. Its director, Andrea Ammon, is guided by an advisory forum composed of the Member States’ competent bodies, which also serves as an information exchange platform. The ECDC also works with partnerships and networks.

For the 2020 financial year, the ECDC’s budget is €60.4 million. Its 2020 establishment plan provides for a total of 286 staff. The ECDC’s main activities include: surveillance, epidemic intelligence and response; scientific advice; microbiology; preparedness; public health training; and country support. Its disease-specific activities are organised within horizontal disease programmes. Its organisational chart was restructured in January 2020.

The ECDC is playing an important part in the EU’s response to the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. Among other things, it provides systematically updated risk assessments, guidance and advice on public health response activities to EU Member States and the European Commission. Stakeholders have nevertheless criticised the ECDC’s handling of the pandemic, while remarking on the ECDC’s lack of authority and executive power.

In a recent resolution, the European Parliament called the ECDC’s competences, budget and staff to be strengthened. A similar call was made in a joint Franco-German initiative, and will reportedly be a topic for the upcoming trio of EU Council presidencies. A strong role for the ECDC is also among the initiatives announced by the Commission under its recovery plan for Europe.

Read the complete briefing on ‘European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: During the pandemic and beyond‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.


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