Berlin: Europe needs 'healthcare NATO'

Berlin: Europe needs 'healthcare NATO'

A kind of 'healthcare NATO' would make the EU better prepared for pandemics and would prevent the 27-member bloc from losing out amid the global competition between the U.S. and China, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said.

The European Union needs "a better mechanism for healthcare crises, just like we found one [to deal with] financial crises," Spahn told Germany’s Rheinische Post.

The EU [should serve] as the core of an alliance for mutual assistance in case of a pandemic, a sort of healthcare NATO.

Each member state would benefit from that system, Spahn said. All 27 members could source protective equipment from a pan-European stockpile instead of relying on their own national reserves.

While that rationale makes sense, the model itself isn’t flawless, as NATO is plagued by bitter disputes among long-standing allies over defense spending and procuring non-Western equipment, RT reported.

Nevertheless, Germany – which is set to assume the EU presidency later this year – will champion expanding the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) "into a kind of European Robert Koch Institute," the health minister said.