New authority to respond to health crises (HERA): the European Parliament imposes its voice

On Thursday 11 November, the European Parliament strengthened Véronique Trillet-Lenoir’s report on serious cross-border health threats. This new vote follows the presentation by the European Commission on the 16th of September of the legislative package to create the European Health Emergency Response and Preparedness Authority (HERA).

Simply ousted from the construction of this major device of our European health policy, the European Parliament was deprived of its role as co-legislator. This approach is not in line with the European spirit of unity and cooperation relayed to citizens at the height of the pandemic.

To make up for this lack of democracy, the European Parliament has relied on Véronique Trillet-Lenoir’s report on Serious cross-border health threats (adopted in plenary session on the 15th of September 2021) as a legislative tool to establish its ambitions in the process of creating and monitoring this new health authority. How? By amending the original text to:  

  • Ensure consistency between the Regulation on serious cross-border health threats and the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority legislative package, the latter being the main tool of the former.  
  • Guarantee a balanced representation of industry and civil society representatives within the HERA Advisory Forum.
  • Obtain a full seat for the Parliament in the HERA architecture to influence its activities, their coherence with other EU programs, multi-annual planning and the annual budget.
  • Maintain control over the substantial HERA budget and safeguard the amounts allocated to other EU4Health priorities, such as disease prevention, access to medical products and health systems strengthening. 
  • Consider a review of the HERA legislation in 2023 instead of 2025 and leave the door open for the creation of a truly European and independent agency.

"HERA's missions are the right ones: anticipation, support for innovation, joint negotiation, industrial capacity, prevention and management of drug shortages and stocks. In essence, everything is there. But we want to participate actively in the governance to guide the actions and decisions of this authority, on behalf of the Parliament, that is to say on behalf of the citizens. We want to ensure coherence, transparency, coordination and unity within our European health policy and build together our European Health Union", concluded the MEP.