European Union institutions
ECDC is a member of the European Union (EU) family, and receives funding from the EU budget. The EU Institutions and Member States are therefore ECDC’s most important partners. ECDC works very closely with the European Commission, but it also advises and gives reports to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
Within the European Parliament, the Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) deals with all issues concerning ECDC (together with the Budgets Committee (BUDG) on budgetary issues). The ENVI has a parliamentary hearing with the Director nominee before his/her approval by the Management Board, and closely follows the work of ECDC. By invitation, the Director will regularly address the ENVI to give updates and assessments on the epidemiological situation.
The Council and Presidency of the European Union
Health ministers from the EU Member States meet regularly in the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO). In recent years, the threat to human health posed by infectious diseases, such as influenza, HIV/AIDS and healthcare associated infections, has been an important topic at these meetings. The Director of ECDC has, on occasion, participated in these ministerial meetings to give Centre’s expert analysis and advice. When appropriate, ECDC experts participate in the committees of civil servants that prepare the ministerial meetings.
The ECDC has daily contacts with staff of the European Commission. The closest links are to the Directorate General of Public Health and Consumer Affairs (DG SANCO), in particular the Directorate C (Public Health and Risk Assessment) and its Health Threat Unit (C3), but on the issue of zoonoses also with Directorate E (Food safety: Plant Health, Animal Health and Welfare, International Questions). ECDC also advices the Commission on research issues within the Framework Programmes of the Research Directorate General (DG RTD).
Other EU agencies
The remits of ECDC are complementary to those of some other EU agencies, e.g. the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) , the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), and the European Environmental Agency (EEA). Close links have been established with EFSA on issues concerning reporting under the Zoonoses Directive (2003/99/EC) and avian influenza.
Member States, EEA/EFTA, Candidate Countries and Potential Candidates
ECDC will work closely with the 28 EU Member States, but also with the EEA/EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), candidate countries (Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey) and potential candidates (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo under UN Security Council Resolution 1244).
Being a small agency, ECDC will heavily rely on the expertise and infrastructures (e.g. microbiological laboratories) in the Member States. The ECDC will have the role of co-ordinating EU resources and being the focal point of communicable disease-related information. The pooled expertise of the ECDC will also be offered to those countries in need of enhancing specific aspects of their communicable disease control systems.
The main contact points in the Member States are the members of the ECDC Advisory Forum and Management Board, in their respective roles, and the competent bodies identified by the Management Board.
World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of ECDC’s most important strategic partners. ECDC experts regularly contribute to the technical work of WHO on infectious diseases, and ECDC participates in WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). The WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/EURO), in particular, has tasks and responsibilities that interlink with those of ECDC. ECDC therefore places utmost importance in coordinating its work with WHO/EURO to efficiently use limited resources and avoid duplication of efforts. Since 2008 ECDC and WHO Euro have produced joint annual surveillance reports of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis across the EU and the wider European neighbourhood (the WHO European Region covers 53 countries). ECDC and WHO Euro also work together on influenza surveillance, and have partnered on numerous training and capacity building initiatives.