New European Union legislation improves health security in Europe

Decision No 1082/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on serious cross-border threats to health and repealing Decision No 2119/98/EC entered into force on 6 November 2013.

This new European Union (EU) legislation is an important instrument to improve health security in Europe. It brings EU legislation in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, laying down rules on epidemiological surveillance, monitoring and early warning and combating of serious cross-border threats to health (including related preparedness and response planning), to coordinate and complement national policies. It also establishes a mechanism for joint procurement of medical countermeasures among EU Member States.

Collaboration between WHO/Europe, the European Commission (EC), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and other relevant EU agencies on health security is already well established. The Decision is expected to further enhance IHR implementation in Europe.

On 20–21 November 2013, WHO/Europe and ECDC will hold a joint meeting for 39 countries in Bratislava, Slovakia on generic and pandemic preparedness. It will address the Decision and its implications in the context of European collaboration, implementation of IHR and strengthening of generic and pandemic preparedness.