Serious animal epidemics in the past have highlighted the importance of having well-prepared, highly-trained personnel available to efficiently manage animal disease outbreaks.
In the EU, an extensive experience with eradicating animal diseases has been gained over recent years. In times of crisis, animal disease experts have been called upon to support the authorities of the EU countries or third countries that were affected by a disease for the first time.
The expertise present in EU countries was however not always directly available to the Commission. Nonetheless, as animal health is a harmonised area of EU law, the Commission was often called upon to provide support by sending experts to the affected area.
For this reason an EU Veterinary Emergency Team was established by Commission Decision 2007/142/EC.
The team includes experts in the fields of veterinary sciences, virology, wildlife, laboratory testing, risk management and other relevant areas. The experts will be on stand-by, ready to respond in animal health situations.
EU countries have put forward candidates to be included in the team, along with their detailed profiles.
From this list of experts, the Commission will select ad hoc team members in the event that a request for assistance is submitted by an EU country or a non-EU country during an animal health emergency.
The Commission informs EU countries through the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed on the activities of the team.