Two years ago, the world was gradually coming to realise that COVID-19 would become the deadliest pandemic of the past century. Most countries were unprepared for an event of these proportions, despite repeated warnings of the scientific community that such a large-scale emergency was imminent. And the European Union, with its limited competences in the domain of health, had to devote all its best resources to avoid the collapse of the single market, introduce new forms of coordination in the procurement of protective equipment, and later negotiate the procurement of vaccines. Two years down the road, with the pandemic still raging, many changes have been introduced: the European Commission paved the way for a European Health Union, proposed to strengthen existing institutions such as the European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and set up a new Directorate General for Health Emergency preparedness and Response (HERA). Policymakers in the EU and Member States are turning to new tools such as foresight, new approaches such as “One Health”, and new goals such as resilience, in what appears to be a gradual paradigm shift in public policy.
The event is organised in collaboration with the PERISCOPE project, a large scale research project co-led by CEPS, funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation.