Building a Resilient Future: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ecorys and CEPS evaluated the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found that, after a slow start, the EU effectively mobilised a variety of resources in public health, financial instruments, and civil protection to provide emergency and long-term structural support within the EU. The EU’s response has been exemplified in measures such as the European Health Union, EU Vaccines Strategy, and the provision of the Green Lane approach and the EU Digital COVID certificate, which have been critical in maintaining the integrity of the single market and ensuring the effective deployment of vaccines and medical countermeasures.

Furthermore, the study uncovered a negative relationship between COVID-19 mortality rates/excess mortality rates and national vaccination progress, highlighting the importance of vaccine effectiveness and the need for countries to prioritise vaccination efforts. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought to light a ‘shadow pandemic’ of mental illness, educational deprivation, and social isolation, which must be addressed urgently.

The study calls for an enhanced level of preparedness at the EU level and a concerted approach to global health security, anchored in robust international cooperation and a deep preventive approach. This requires a One Health approach, a focus on the social and environmental determinants of ill health, and long-term investments into social and health care, as well as greater global collaboration.

This comprehensive research was conducted from August to November 2022, in the rapidly shifting policy context in EU health policy and pandemic response. The findings are based on a literature review and interviews with representatives from EU Member State authorities, EU institutions, international organizations, civil society, and private sector actors. This study was conducted in support of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic and provides insights into the EU’s response to this global crisis.

For more information, please read the final report (pdf).

12 May 2023

2 minute read

Key Experts

Rana Orhan Pees

Senior Consultant