Politicians and health officials traveled to Stockholm this week (September 27) for an official event to "start up" the new European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which the European Commission hopes will ensure Europe is better prepared for future epidemics when it begins operating in May next year.

EU Health Commissioner David Byrne and Swedish Health Minister Morgan Johansson hosted the affair. "This new EU agency will enable Europe to be better prepared for whatever new epidemics the 21st century has in store," Byrne said. He praised the EU's Communicable Disease Networks, but said, "Europe-wide disease surveillance now needs to be put on a proper footing. It needs the stability of multi-annual core funding from the EU budget. It needs a dedicated team of central staff to support and develop the network. It needs to provide a focal point for expertise and training of professionals...

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