European Commission launches new department for preparing and responding to health emergencies

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The European Commission has announced €30 billion in funding for a new department aimed at preventing and responding to future health emergencies.

The new body, which will be called the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), is expected to be operational by early 2022 and finances for it could reach as much €50 billion after further investments are factored in.

According to the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, it’s all part of an effort to plug the gap in the EU’s ability to respond to the next emergency or health crisis.

“HERA is a crucial centrepiece of a strong European Health Union. With HERA we will be able to anticipate threats through horizon scanning, coordinate our actions to respond in a timely fashion through the development, procurement, and distribution of critical medical countermeasures at EU level,” Kyriakides told reporters on Thursday.

“It is a unique health security structure allowing us to be ahead of the curve. Health security is becoming a collective endeavour in the EU. After almost two years of a devastating pandemic, HERA is a symbol of the mindset shift on health policy that we should all rally behind – it is when we act together that we are stronger and able to make a real difference for the health security of our citizens.”

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