BRUSSELS, 16th February, 2016 (WAM) – The European Union today launches the European Medical Corps to help mobilise medical and public health teams and equipment for emergencies inside and outside the EU. Through the European Medical Corps, EU Member States and other European countries participating in the system can make medical teams and assets available for rapid deployment before an emergency.

The medical corps could include emergency medical teams, public health and medical coordination experts, mobile biosafety laboratories, medical evacuation planes and logistical support teams.

“The aim of the European Medical Corps is to create a much faster and more efficient EU response to health crises when they occur. We need to learn the lessons from the Ebola response; a key difficulty was mobilising medical teams. I thank all the Member States that have already contributed so far, and encourage others to join so the EU’s response will be able to meet increasing needs and will allow for better planning and preparation before any disaster.” said European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. Commissioner Andriukaitis added “Globalisation, intensive travelling, global warming, and billions of people living in poverty without healthcare, sanitation or hygiene: all this fosters conditions for viruses to spread and develop into pandemics. To fight such health crisis we need multi-sectorial teams, with the right skills, on the spot, working together. This is why we are launching the European Medical Corps.” The framework for the European Medical Corps is part of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism’s new European Emergency Response Capacity (otherwise known as the ‘voluntary pool’). So far Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands have already committed teams and equipment to the voluntary pool.