Strengthen Democratic Oversight of HERA (cepInput)
As a consequence of the Corona pandemic, the European Union wants to strengthen its preparedness and crisis response. An important building block is the new health authority HERA. The Centres for European Policy Network (cep) considers the institution to be useful, but urges the participation of the EU Parliament and the Member States in view of the distribution of competencies in the health sector.
"A central EU health authority is necessary to ensure successful and transparent European health crisis prevention and response in the long term," says Patrick Stockebrandt. The two cep jurists, Stockebrandt and Andrea De Petris, defined conditions for the future work of the authority and made recommendations.
"Transparency and accountability must be increased. The reasons for the authority's work must be comprehensible both at the institutional level and to the public. This ultimately goes hand in hand with a higher level of acceptance, effectiveness and legitimacy," the cep experts emphasize.
Their recommendations on the involvement of Parliament and Member States aim to offer possible solutions. The distinction between preparedness and crisis mode is important, they say, because the context is very different. For example, there is a different urgency in organizing preparatory measures for future emergencies than in the case of the actual occurrence of an acute health emergency, they said.
Stockebrandt and De Petris make a case for having the HERA leadership elected and appointed by the Commission, Council and Parliament together. In addition, they say, Parliament should be represented at least on the HERA Coordination Committee. After an emergency ends, the authority and the Health Crisis Board should be accountable to the Parliament. The Coordination Committee should be supplemented by the health minister of the Member State holding the Council presidency. Particularly in crisis mode, Member States would need to be sufficiently involved on the basis of their national competencies.