The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Hub or Hollow Core?
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is the small agency established by the European Union (EU) to act as a hub for disease control, drawing on networks across the continent to achieve what other political systems do with large agencies. Despite this important task, the agency is largely unstudied. This article examines the ECDC from different angles, focusing on whether it can become the center of the networks that monitor, control, and prevent contagious diseases in Europe. The essay first retraces the events that led up to the ECDC’s creation, focusing on the combination of policy debates about EU actions, political initiatives, and crises such as SARS that led to its creation. It then presents an overview of ECDC activities. The article concludes by examining the ECDC’s prospects in light of its ability to secure its future through multiple political connections and a reputation for unique and useful advice. Insofar as it can do that, it will be able to contribute to the development of the EU and European public health.