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Research and innovation
News article11 November 2020Directorate-General for Research and Innovation3 min read

Coronavirus: Advisors provide joint opinion on pandemic preparedness and management

Today the European Commission’s independent Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA), the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) and Peter Piot, special advisor to the President Ursula von der Leyen on the response to COVID-19, published a joint Opinion on Improving pandemic preparedness and management.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

The advisors provide a detailed analysis of the many challenges we have been facing in the last months and give clear recommendations on how we can best move forward together. Only if we join forces and follow the guidance of scientific and ethical advice can we recover from this pandemic and ensure we will be prepared for the future.

The advisors provide a set of recommendations that will help to prevent and pre-empt the emerging infectious diseases globally, enhance coordination across EU Member States and internationally and strengthen systems of preparedness and management. Additionally, the advisors look at how we can best uphold fundamental rights and social justice in times of a pandemic. Finally, they advise the Commission to address systemic issues linked to health crises, most notably in the fields of sustainability and social justice.

As pandemics do not stop at EU borders, the opinion recommends the establishment of a standing EU advisory body for health threats and crises and a joint early-response mechanism to contain epidemics and pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown the need for strong coordination in the field of research, as well as with the development and implementation of medical and social measures.  Initiatives similar to the ERAvsCorona Action Plan can facilitate such research coordination at a European level.

The advisor’s opinion advises policy making by the European Commission in relation to pandemics and its recommendations have informed the plans for a European Health Union: Stronger EU preparedness and response for health crises, presented by the Commission today.

The Opinion builds on a first joint “Statement on scientific advice to European policy makers during the COVID-19 pandemic” (June 2020) and the EGE’s “Statement on European Solidarity and Protection of Fundamental Rights in the COVID-19 Pandemic” (April 2020). The advisors’ collaboration is planned to continue in 2021, with a third joint advice on how Europe can develop towards stronger resilience to crises in general.


The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors

The European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA) contribute to the quality of EU legislation through the provision of independent scientific advice to the Commission. The Advisors are seven eminent scientists, appointed in their personal capacities and who advise the Members of the European Commission on issues of public interest. The Advisors work closely with the Scientific Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) consortium, which gathers interdisciplinary expertise from over 100 academies and societies across Europe.  A summary of the Advisors’ previous publications and their impact can be found in their February 2020 report, ‘Informing European Commission Policy Making with Scientific Evidence’.

The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies

The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) is an independent, multi-disciplinary body appointed by the President of the European Commission. The EGE advises on all aspects of Commission policies and legislation where ethical, societal and fundamental rights dimensions intersect with the development of science and new technologies. The latest statement was issued on 2 April 2020, on European Solidarity and the Protection of Fundamental Rights in the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The special advisor to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the response to the coronavirus and COVID-19

Virologist Peter Piot is special advisor to the President Ursula Von der Leyen on the response to the coronavirus and COVID-19. In this role, he advises the Commission in supporting and steering research and innovation in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Peter Piot is director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Handa Professor of Global Health. The former Under Secretary-General of the UN is also member of the scientific advisory panel that provides the Commission with recommendations on the response to the current pandemic, including policy measures for addressing its long-term consequences.

More information

Joint Opinion

Executive Summary


Factsheet EU R&I Preparedness and Response


Publication date
11 November 2020
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation