EU Initiative on Health Security: a look back on last year’s highlights


In 2021, ECDC has through the EU Initiative on Health Security been working closely with its partners to strengthen the regional workforce for the prevention and control of the challenges posed by communicable diseases in the EU enlargement and the European Neighborhood Policy partner countries.

The EU Initiative on Health Security (2020–2025) aims at tackling cross-border health security threats in the EU neighbourhood regions through enhanced regional cooperation, trainings and optimizing of skills. These efforts include improving capacity building, risk assessment, preparedness, and response capabilities.

Following the inception phase and during the second year of its functioning, in 2021 the initiative undertook a series of successful actions across its focus areas:

Work package 1: Workforce oriented capability building (MediPIET)

Throughout 2021, ECDC led and successfully finalised the handover to ECDC of the Mediterranean and Black Sea Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (MediPIET). 

In September 2021, MediPIET Cohort 4 started a two-year FETP programme with 16 exceptional fellows representing Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Kosovo (1), Lebanon, Moldova, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Palestine (2), Serbia, and Tunisia. ECDC team has been working in close collaboration with training site supervisors, mentoring fellows, sharing expertise, and providing guidance.

During the European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology (ESCAIDE) in November, the MediPIET session was the most visited side event, with 420 participants from 64 countries.

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.

2 This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.

Work package 2: Epidemic intelligence, risk assessment, preparedness, and response

Several trainings were provided during 2021 to introduce partner country professionals to ECDC methodologies and tools and to discuss topics of common interest. 90 experts from 14 EU neighboring countries participated in these multilingual trainings.

ECDC also developed an analytical framework to facilitate the assessment of public health emergency preparedness and response capacities and identified key areas for future cooperation with partner countries.

Work package 3: Integration into ECDC systems, knowledge sharing and networking

The EU Initiative on Health Security pursues the progressive integration of partner countries into the work structure of ECDC. 
In 2021, partner countries were provided with observer status in relevant ECDC networks and activities, including participation in meetings with EU National Focal Points.

If you would like to find out more about the EU Initiative on Health Security and our Work Programme 2022, please contact us at


The EU Initiative on Health Security is a five-year programme (2020–2025) aimed at enhancing public health preparedness and response capacities of the European Union enlargement and the European Neighbourhood partner countries. The total founding is 9 million EUR.