EU adopts exports control of protective equipment to contain coronavirus

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced yesterday (15 March) that the executive adopted an export authorisation scheme for protective equipment in an effort to protect European health workers and contain escalating coronavirus outbreak.

“Essential medical goods can only be exported to non-EU countries with the explicit authorisation of member states’ governments. This is the right thing to do because we need the equipment for our healthcare systems,” von der Leyen said, adding that they must be safeguarded with protective equipment such as masks and gloves.

EU sources told EURACTIV last week that 60% of protective equipment’s global production takes place in China’s Wuhan region, where the coronavirus was first reported. The factories in the region are expected to go back to business in a few months and considering that the outbreak in Europe is escalating severely, the bloc cannot wait.

MedTech Europe, the European trade association for the medical technology industry, issued a statement last week calling on the European Commission and EU member states to remove any barrier undermining the industry’s capacity to help manage the unprecedented public health emergency.

EURACTIV’s Sarantis Michalopoulos has the full story.

CUT

Von der Leyen said EU authorities are currently working with the industry to ramp up production and emphasised that some member states’ decision to ban exports of protective equipment to other member states was “not good”.

“No country can produce on its own what it needs. Today it’s Italy that radically needs medical goods but, in a few weeks, other countries will need it too,” she warned.

Italy, affected by the coronavirus more than any other EU country, has been requesting for a long time other member states’ assistance in providing personal protective equipment such as masks. However, just one member state responded to the request, EURACTIV was recently informed.

Coronavirus puts Europe’s solidarity to the test

Italy, affected by the coronavirus more than any other EU country, has been requesting since last week other member states’ assistance in providing personal protective equipment such as masks. However, just one member state responded to the request, EURACTIV was informed.

MedTech Europe, the European trade association for the medical technology industry, issued a statement last week calling on the European Commission and EU member states to remove any barrier undermining the industry’s capacity to help manage the unprecedented public health emergency.

“The medical technology industry has geared up its capacity to a maximum, and is fully committed to bringing to healthcare professionals, patients and member states all the support they need to contain and combat the virus,” said Serge Bernasconi, CEO of MedTech Europe.

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