This article will not go over all the 33 recitals but will highlight some of them.
Recital 1 refers to the Treaty, which states the limits of Union action in the area of public health – it is primary the role of MS but Union action shall complement national policies and that Member States are, in liaison with the Commission, to coordinate among themselves their policies and programmes in the areas covered by Union action in the field of public health.
Recitals 2-7, as I mentioned earlier, give historical background and reasons why the change of the current legislation was needed.
Recital 8 calls upon the Commission and Member States to avoid any overlap of activities, duplication or conflicting actions between the mechanisms and structures established under this Decision, and other mechanisms and structures established at Union level and under the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (the Euratom Treaty), the activities of which are relevant to the preparedness and response planning, monitoring, early warning of, and combating serious cross-border threats to health.
Recital 9 refers to the so-called "catch-all" clause": health threats other than those covered by the scope may, in exceptional emergency situations, if it is considered that public health measures taken prove insufficient to protect human health, be referred to the Health Security Committee.
Recital 22 stresses the importance of risk and crisis communication:
Inconsistent or confusing communication with the public and stakeholders such as healthcare professionals can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the response from a public health perspective as well as on economic operators. The coordination of the response within the HSC, assisted by relevant subgroups, should, therefore, encompass rapid information exchange concerning communication messages and strategies and addressing communication challenges with a view to coordinating risk and crisis communication, based on robust and independent evaluation of public health risks, to be adapted to national needs and circumstances. Such exchanges of information are intended to facilitate monitoring of the clarity and coherence of messages to the public and to healthcare professionals.
The European Parliamentarians in their report on the Decision insisted on strengthening the coherence of communication: They quoted:
The E. coli/STEC O104 crisis was a clear example of how a poor communication strategy could hinder the proper management of a crisis and lead to serious economic consequences. This Decision should further stress the importance of implementing a consistent and coordinated communication strategy should a crisis arise.
Recital 26 reflects Articles 168(3) and 218 of the Treaty, where the Union is already empowered to conclude international agreements in the field of health protection. Therefore, no reference to such an empowerment was needed in the main body of the text and a recital was considered to be sufficient to recall this possibility.