European Parliament’s special committee to draw lessons from the pandemic

CC – 04/2022

On 10 March 2022, the European Parliament voted to set up a special committee on the COVID-19 pandemic. The special committee was constituted on 19 April and began its work. Its term was set at twelve months, after which it must submit a final report to the EU Parliament. The committee is composed of 38 parliamentarians. It is chaired by Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D) from Belgium. Her four deputies are Andreas Glück (Renew Europe, DE), Ewa Kopacz (EPP, PL), Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA, FR) and Karol Karski (ECR, PL).

First health policy lessons

Brussels reluctantly recalls the uncoordinated approach to the procurement of protective equipment and vaccines at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lack of solidarity and national go-it-alone approaches have not served the EU well in dealing with a pandemic. Initial health policy lessons have therefore already been learned with the legislative package on the European Health Union and the associated establishment of HERA and the expansion of the mandates of ECDC and European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The task of the special committee on COVID-19 is now to examine the pandemic-related response of the European Union (EU) and then develop an appropriate framework for future action. The impact of the pandemic on the EU will be assessed holistically, focusing on four areas:


Here, the EU’s capacity to respond to the pandemic crisis, its institutions and agencies, and the level of coordination and solidarity among Member States are examined. This includes the COVID-19 vaccination strategy, the role and mandates of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In addition to the governance of health, the impact of the pandemic on healthcare provision will be examined, including diagnosis and treatments of illness, mental health, long COVID, the impact of staff shortage and increasing digitisation in healthcare, the availability of medicines and medical devices, and the impact on care.

A coordinated approach to preserving democracy and basic human rights

Issues examined here include societal aspects such as vaccine scepticism and the spread of fake-news, the necessity and proportionality of restrictions on the free movement of people and the single market, the impact on the individual and basic human rights of vulnerable groups, the use of technological tools and datasets in combating COVID-19, and the basic democratic control of the response to the pandemic in Member States.

Socio-economic impact

Specifically, this area examines the impact of the pandemic on work organisation, remote working, and the future of work; the impact of the pandemic on poverty, inequality, and social exclusion; and the impact on social protection systems. Aspects such as the handling and use of digital technologies, gender equality and the general vocational training and development of children and youth will also be considered.

The EU and the world

This area will look at, among other things, the EU's strategic autonomy – in health issues, supply chain resilience, crisis resilience as a business location, and in the economic sectors most affected by the pandemic, such as culture, hospitality, tourism and transport. In addition, lessons will also be drawn for supranational collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and other multilateral initiatives, particularly on vaccine diplomacy and allocation such as COVAX.

For more information on the tasks and objectives of the special committee, please visit here.

The final report is expected to include an analysis of the current situation as well as recommendations for actions to be taken to further improve the EU's capacity to respond to the pandemic crisis. The first regular meeting of the special committee is scheduled for 11 May.