Cooperation between the European medical services has intensified further. Under the term "European Medical Cooperation 2.0", a concept has been developed to facilitate quicker an better crises response.
The COVID-19Coronavirus Disease 2019 crisis has confronted many EU Member States with major challenges – for instance, when it comes to procuring urgently needed protective equipment. In many EU Member States, military medical services have therefore been actively supporting civilian personnel in dealing with the pandemic.
In Germany, for example, the Bundeswehr hospitals have been playing an essential role in the fight against the pandemic. Furthermore, Bundeswehr service members have participated in the contact tracing activities of the public health offices.
However, the pandemic has also shown considerable room for improvement when it comes to international cooperation between medical services as well as civil-military cooperation within the EU. This is why, during Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2020, the project European Medical Cooperation 2.0 was launched as one of the main initiatives of the Federal Ministry of Defence. European Medical Cooperation 2.0 aims at a quicker and better crisis response capability, thus further enhancing the EU’s ability to act as well as its resilience.
European Medical Command and Multinational Medical Coordination Centre (H3)
To this end, two specific projects have been launched. Both are being implemented at the European Medical Command / Multinational Medical Coordination Centre (EMC/MMCC) in Koblenz. One of them – already completed – was the development of a storage concept for medical materiel. This innovative concept is already being used by the EU and NATO and helps improving the EU’s responsiveness during a pandemic.
Furthermore, the multinational exercise Resilient Response 2020 was conducted in November 2020. Many lessons learned during the first wave of the pandemic were taken into account in this exercise, and special emphasis was placed on civil-military cooperation at European level. This is an important contribution towards preparedness for future pandemics.
The EMC/MMCC serves as a coordination and support element for both the EU and NATO. It connects the EMC, which is a PESCOPermanent Structured Cooperation project, with the MMCC, which is part of NATO’s Framework Nations Concept. Thus, both the EU and NATO benefit from European Medical Cooperation 2.0, as the responsiveness and resilience of both organizations is improved. This way, the EU will be better equipped to handle future crises, enabling its Member States to act in a coordinated way and with more solidarity right from the start.