Single Programming Document 2023–2025

ECDC corporate

As the health systems in EU Member States gradually return to a routine operations mode, work on the priorities that the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen formulated in 2019 is expected to resume at full speed during 2023: e-health and the European Health Data Space to promote health data exchange; the implementation of the European ‘One Health’ Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance and the cooperation at international level on antimicrobials; as well as actions to strengthen the performance of vaccination programmes in the EU, including addressing vaccine hesitancy. These issues will remain among ECDC’s highest priorities in the years to come.

Executive summary

Work related to COVID-19 vaccines will also continue in 2023: monitoring vaccine effectiveness and impact, providing scientific advice on new questions that may arise around COVID-19 vaccination strategies, as well as supporting countries in reaching their vaccination coverage targets and closing possible immunity gaps in the population.

During the COVID-19 crisis, ECDC continuously provided scientific advice, risk assessments and support to the European Commission and EU Member States and will continue to do so in 2023 and beyond, as part of the Centre’s core mandate.

In addition, the amended ECDC Founding Regulation calls for new and extended tasks to be undertaken by the Centre. This means aligning the ECDC Strategy 2021-2027 and accompanying implementation roadmap with the amended Founding Regulation. The main changes to ECDC’s mandate/tasks are expected to be:

  • an enhanced role in providing technical support to EU Member States/EEA, enlargement countries;
  • an enhanced role in the development of digitalised EU level surveillance system for communicable diseases and related health threats, in close collaboration with the EU Member States as well as the development and maintenance of digital applications and platforms to support disease prevention and control and e.g. outbreak response activities such as contact tracing;
  • an enhanced role to provide foresight using modelling and other relevant techniques in collaboration with EU and global partners;
  • reinforcing the contribution to the EU’s international cooperation and development, and EU commitment to global health security preparedness;
  • an enhanced role in supporting EU Member States and selected third countries in preparedness, including the contribution to the development of EU level preparedness plans, their monitoring frameworks, and indicators;
  • an enhanced role in the long-term monitoring of vaccine effectiveness and safety in the post-authorisation phase, in close collaboration with the European Medicines Agency (EMA);
  • establishing a permanent EU Health Task Force to assist on requests for preparedness and response planning, local response to outbreaks of communicable diseases and after-action reviews in EU Member States and in third countries;
  • operating the Network of EU reference laboratories; and
  • operating the Network of Member State services supporting transfusion, transplantation, and medically assisted reproduction.

Last but not least, in 2021 the European Commission announced a programme for strengthening infrastructures and capacities required for the swift detection and surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 variants in the EU and its neighbourhood. ECDC was tasked with leading the implementation of whole genome sequencing (WGS) and Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) infrastructure, capacity-building and direct support activities to EU Members States, aimed at enhancing Member States’ ability for early detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 variants. ECDC will support the development of national sequencing infrastructure in Member States and provide capacity-building through standardisation, assay validation, and training. In 2023, ECDC and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) will continue working towards having additional funding assigned to this initiative. The work undertaken throughout 2021-2023 will lead to enhanced genomic-based infectious disease outbreak investigation, surveillance, and preparedness for future pandemics.

In 2023, ECDC will continue implementing its current long-term 2021–2027 strategy, which provides a framework for its actions. The annual Programming Document puts the strategy and its associated roadmap in action on an annual basis.