Statement by President von der Leyen on the end of the COVID-19 pandemic

Welcoming the WHO’s announcement that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a global health emergency, President Ursula von der Leyen made the following statement:

“Finally, after more than 3 years, COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency. This is good news.

This pandemic has had a heavy toll on people, our society and our economy. But we have successfully overcome it thanks to determined action at global, EU and Member State level, and to the resilience and solidarity of our citizens.  

It has taught us that the EU’s strength lies in its unity, including when confronted with major health crises. European solidarity, in sharing medical supplies, treating patients or helping repatriate citizens, and in the reconstruction of our economies, helped us to protect our citizens together and overcome the most difficult phases of the pandemic.

This pandemic changed the face of the EU, which has become a true European Health Union. We are now far better prepared to face future health crises, with new tools to react quickly to emerging health crises. We have strengthened our health security framework and crisis preparedness mechanisms. We have established the Health Emergency and Response Authority (HERA) to be better prepared for future health emergencies. We have a stronger European Medicine Agency (EMA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Nevertheless, vigilance remains crucial. Although the pandemic has passed, it is clear that COVID-19 remains a global health threat and that it will be still part of our life for the foreseeable future. Together with the Member States, ECDC, EMA and HERA, we therefore need to continue our monitoring and surveillance, ensure vaccination of the vulnerable, so that we are always prepared for future health crises.

As this crisis is now over, let us again wholeheartedly thank the many frontline public health professionals for their extraordinary efforts and dedication in the past three years. If it was not for them, we would not be where we are today.”