Member States and EEA countries
ECDC works closely with the EU Member States and with the EEA countries (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein).
Being a relatively small agency, ECDC relies on the expertise and infrastructures (e.g. microbiological laboratories) in the Member States. ECDC co-ordinates EU resources and is the focal point of communicable disease-related information. The pooled expertise of ECDC is also 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 ECDC’s Advisory Forum and Management Board, in their respective roles, and the Coordinating Competent Bodies identified by the Management Board.
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.
ECDC has daily contacts with staff of the European Commission. The closest links are to the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), in particular Directorate B (Health systems, medical products, and innovation) and its Health in all policies, global health, tobacco control Unit (B2), as well as Directorate C (Public Health, country knowledge, crisis management) and its Crisis management and preparedness in health Unit (C3). On the issues related to zoonoses, ECDC’s contacts are with Directorates E (Food and feed safety, innovation), F (Health and food audits and analysis) and G (Crisis management in food, animals, and plants).
ECDC also advises the European Commission on research issues within the Framework Programmes of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD). In addition, ECDC runs several projects funded by the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) to develop technical cooperation with non-EU countries on communicable diseases. ECDC also cooperates with the Directorate-General for Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO) and the Directorate-General International Partnerships (DG INTPA).
ECDC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Directorate General Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission aimed at coordinating the work of both organisations in support of the EU’s response to COVID-19 according to their respective mandates and priorities.
ECDC collaborates with other EU agencies in closely related fields by exchanging information and cooperating on matters of mutual interest. In particular, ECDC collaborates with the following EU agencies:
- The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA);
- The European Medicines Agency (EMA);
- The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA);
- The European Environmental Agency (EEA); and
- The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX).
ECDC has signed Memoranda of Understanding that lay out the nature of the collaboration between the agencies in their areas of common interest. Such agreements have been signed with:
- EFSA, with an aim to increase cooperation and exchange scientific information on topics of mutual interest including food safety, control of communicable diseases, infectious diseases prevention, and emergency response;
- EMA, to foster cooperation in the areas of mutual interest including vaccines, antimicrobial agents and resistance, antivirals, and substances of human origins;
- EMCDDA, to work together in such areas as monitoring, communicating on, and preventing the spread of drug-related infectious diseases in the EU. While ECDC analyses trends in these diseases across the whole population, EMCDDA, as a specialised information provider on drugs, focuses on specific drug-related risk groups such as injecting drug users.
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. An exchange of views before the ENVI Committee on the achievements and future priorities of the agency takes place with the ECDC Director each year. Furthermore, the Director is regularly invited to hearings on specific disease topics in the European Parliament 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 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Ebola, 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 the Centre’s expert analysis and advice. When appropriate, ECDC experts participate in the committees of civil servants that prepare the ministerial meetings.