European Commission creates common reserve for medical equipment

in News · 19-03-2020 12:35:00 · 0 Comments

The European Commission today decided to create a common strategic reserve of medical equipment, such as ventilators and protective masks, to help EU Member States to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first ever common European stockpile of emergency medical equipment - which will be created under 'rescEU', the new European natural disaster response system - will include medical equipment for intensive care such as ventilators, personal protective equipment such as reusable masks , vaccines and therapeutic means and laboratory material, and aims to help fill the lack of material with which many Member States are struggling as the new coronavirus spreads on European soil.

The Community executive points out that the reserve will be deposited in one or more Member States, with the invitation to tender for the purchase of equipment being left to each of those Member States.

The Commission will finance 90% of the cost of the reservation, assigning the European Emergency Response Coordination Centre to manage the distribution of the equipment, "so that it reaches where it is most needed".

According to Brussels estimates, the initial EU budget for this reserve is € 50 million, of which € 40 million needs approval from the budgetary authorities.

At a press conference, European Commissioner responsible for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic pointed out that this reserve “will be used to assist Member States that face a lack of equipment needed to treat infected patients, healthcare providers and help to slow down the spread of the virus ”.

Commenting that "almost all countries seem to have been taken aback in this regard" by the lack of medical equipment, which, he argued, should constitute "a lesson for the future", the commissioner said that the EU tries in this way "to find solutions in these demanding times ”and pointed out that the Commission's plan is to“ move forward without further delay ”.

The Community executive states that, “once converted into a legislative act on Friday, March 20, Member States wishing to maintain a 'rescEU' reserve in their territory may apply for a direct grant from the European Commission”.

The Commission also recalls that, "under a joint public procurement agreement, Member States have already started the process of purchasing personal protective equipment, ventilators and the material necessary to research the coronavirus".

"This coordinated procedure reinforces the position of the Member States in negotiations with the sector on the availability and price of the medical products concerned", he stresses.

This common reserve of medical equipment will thus reinforce the capabilities of 'rescEU', the new European natural disaster response system, created in 2017 by the former 'Juncker Commission' following natural disasters that hit Europe, such as devastating forest fires that year in Portugal.


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