ECDC Accession Support to the Western Balkans and Türkiye

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ECDC is supporting countries in the Western Balkans and Türkiye to prepare them to participate in the Centre's activities, as part of a project funded by the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) at the European Commission. The funding is provided under the Instrument of Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). It aims to prepare national authorities of Western Balkans and Türkiye for their future participation in ECDC.  

Through this action ECDC supports 

  • IPA beneficiaries’ capacities to implement EU rules on communicable diseases

  • the advancement of One-Health responses against AMR in the Western Balkans 

  • enhancement of laboratory-confirmed SARI surveillance in a similar way as in EU/EEA countries. 

Project timeframe

January 2020 – December 2024

EU contribution

EUR 2.5 million by the European Commission DG NEAR through the contribution agreement. Letters of Intent have been signed between ECDC and IPA beneficiaries to ensure commitment to a smooth implementation of the ECDC-IPA6 Action. 

Project implementing partners

ECDC and national competent authorities in IPA beneficiaries (namely, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[1], Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Türkiye) via officially nominated National ECDC Correspondents. 
[1] This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence 


Work Stream 1. Preparatory measures for participation of IPA beneficiaries’ authorities in ECDC activities and systems

The overall objective of the Work Stream 1 is to further support national counterparts in the IPA beneficiaries in their preparation for full participation in ECDC work. This will enable the national health authorities to fulfil ECDC requirements for data submission at the minimum level required by the EU. 

This workstream aims to:

  • further enhance communicable disease surveillance and control capacities 

  • improve their health emergency preparedness capabilities 

  • support public health microbiology laboratory systems development.

Expected results: 

  • increased quality of data at the EU level in terms of comparability, timeliness, and reliability of communicable diseases surveillance data, when an IPA beneficiary joins the EU or ECDC.  

  • more comprehensive ECDC scientific and surveillance outputs in the long-term, covering a broader geographical scope of Europe, i.e. the data of relevant IPA beneficiaries shall be presented on the European map. 

  • improved response to public health threats from infectious diseases at the national level, combined with better early detection and response to serious cross-border threats at the EU level. 

Documents on country visits assessing national communicable disease surveillance systems

Work Stream 2. Advancement of One Health responses against AMR 

The overall objective of the Work Stream 2 is to contribute to the advancement of One-Health approach against antimicrobial resistance in the Western Balkans and thereby pave the way for possible regional action for national reforms and investments.  

National experts from Türkiye will contribute to sharing good practices among IPA beneficiaries on AMR and further facilitate the advancement of interventions aimed at reducing antibiotic resistance and consumption in Türkiye.  

This workstream aims to: 

  • identify gaps and develop IPA beneficiary roadmaps  

  • support development of electronic surveillance of AMR and raise awareness 

  • secure political commitment for national interventions to enhance One-Health responses against AMR in the Western Balkans 

  • share experiences and learn from best practices through involvement of experts from Türkiye.  

Expected results: 

  • beneficiaries will be better equipped to detect and respond to AMR threats using a One-Health approach more efficiently 

  • Western Balkans to become an EU neighbourhood region for best practices. 

Documents on One Health responses against AMR  country visits

Work Stream 3. Enhancing SARI surveillance to support the implementation of fit-for-purpose surveillance systems and a follow-up on vaccine effectiveness

The overall objective of the Work Stream 3 is to support the enhancement of laboratory confirmed SARI surveillance in the Western Balkan, in a similar way as in EU/EEA countries.   

With co-circulation of several respiratory viruses especially during winter, it is essential to monitor disease specific trends over time, assess pandemic and influenza severity, and understand the impact of public health interventions on disease severity by age and location.  

This workstream aims to: 

  • address different and specific needs of the Western Balkans in order to enable their national health authorities to join the ECDC SARI surveillance programme, through provision of technical, expert, and financial support, as well as facilitated exchange of good practices within Western Balkans and between these and EU/EEA countries. 

  • The surveillance system will also be used to assess and monitor vaccine effectiveness for influenza and COVID-19. 

Expected results: 

  • Improve the preparedness of the Western Balkan beneficiaries to effectively detect and respond to threats from viral respiratory diseases at a similar level to the national health authorities in the EU/EEA 

Additional documents


Work plans

Contact us

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Page last updated 30 Aug 2023