European Parliament calls for a stronger European Health Union

CC – 07/2023

The final report from the special committee about lessons learned from the COVID 19 pandemic and recommendations for the future (COVI) for the European Parliament was approved by the European Parliament on 12 July. This ends the COVI committee's work after 15 months.

The final report

With 385 votes in favour, 193 against and 63 abstentions, the final report from the responsible rapporteur, Dolors Montserrat (EPP/ESP), was adopted in the plenary session of the European Parliament. The report, which is over 100 pages long, includes - as the title says - lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and recommendations for the future. Its vote in plenary came after it achieved a majority in committee on 12 June. MEPs tabled amendments right up to the end.

The political discussion on the report focused mainly on the EC's vaccine procurements (keyword Pfizer-SMS), questions about protecting intellectual property and possible patent releases for the global south (keyword Trips Waiver) as well as treating long and post-COVID.

The lessons from COVID 19

COVID 19 lessons are allocated to four areas: Health, A coordinated approach to respect for democracy and fundamental rights, Social and economic impact, The EU and the world. The report includes health, social and legal aspects and, in accordance with the mandate, it also dealt with all aspects of society. The clearest statement: The EU was unprepared for the COVID 19 health crisis. In the report, MEPs called for increased investment in health care and R&D, the introduction of monitoring plans for emerging health threats as well as ensuring transparency for production and supply chains. It also aims to improve the strategic autonomy of the EU with regard to key pharmaceutical ingredients and medicinal products and to develop an EU strategy for combating long and post COVID. MEPs also called for a European Day of Remembrance for those who died during the COVID 19 pandemic.

The end of the committee

The adoption of the final report also marks the end of the work of the COVID 19 special committee, which was convened on 19 April 2022 and whose one-year mandate was extended by three months in January. Chaired by MEP Kathleen van Brempt (S&D/BE), MEPs held over a year of hearings with politicians, scientists and health authorities to review the EU's response to the COVID 19 pandemic.