Call for better EU crisis management

Healthcare workers transport a COVID-19 patient to Motol University Hospital after transfer from Zlin region, in Prague, Czech Republic, 06 November 2020. [EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK]

In a non-paper seen by EURACTIV, the Netherlands, together with Sweden and Romania, is calling for “enhanced coordination and communication” between member states in times of crisis. The push comes as the EU has struggled to respond to the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move comes after the first outbreaks of CIVID-19 triggered competition among member states on crucial medical equipment and export bans on medicines, causing critics to bemoan a lack of crisis solidarity across the bloc.

In the non-paper, the three MS propose to draw lessons from the current crisis, to maintain the current successful features of the existing integrated political crisis response (IPCR)  mechanism, a tool to coordinate the political response to major cross-sectoral and complex crises, including acts of terrorism.

They suggest to strengthen the mechanism by making it “more permanent, agenda-setting and focused on the longer-term”.

According to them, a technical level Crisis Management Working Party, a high-level structure for strategic guidance, a reinforced Crisis Communicators Network and an elected chair could contribute to this end.

“Of course, an extensive evaluation of the COVID-19-response should provide the basis for further development of EU crisis management, but in anticipation of this, the Netherlands, Sweden and Romania already propose to discuss and further develop the concept of an enhanced Council mechanism,” they stated.

The European Commission put forward on Wednesday (11 November) a set of proposals to strengthen coordination at EU level in a cross-border health crisis.

(Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)

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