EU moves to limit exports of medical equipment outside the bloc

Brussels on Sunday imposed an EU-wide export ban for some medical protective equipment in a bid to keep sufficient supplies within the bloc, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced.

On Monday, the Commission will also launch joint public procurement with member countries for testing kits and respiratory ventilators and present guidelines to national governments on border measures, she said. The Commission is already in the process of jointly procuring face masks for 20 countries.

“We need to protect our health workers, who are in the first line of defense against the virus,” von der Leyen said in a video message. “We must safeguard them with protective equipment: masks, gloves, protective garments, etc.”

The EU is moving on three fronts: working with industry to boost production, keeping in the EU the protective equipment needed, and sharing equipment within the EU, according to von der Leyen.

On Sunday, the Commission published a so-called implementing act to protect the availability of supplies of personal protective equipment, by requiring that exports to non-EU countries be subject to authorization by member states. It will be national governments, and not the Council, that will have to greenlight exports. The new authorization requirement will be valid for a six-week period.

A spokesman for the Commission said the export controls came into effect shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday.

At the same time, the Commission is moving to ensure that medical equipment continues to circulate within the EU.

“National bans on selling protective equipment to other member states are not good,” von der Leyen said. “We need to help each other … today it is Italy that rapidly needs large quantities of medical goods, but in a few weeks other countries will need it too.”

Von der Leyen also called for keeping goods flowing throughout the EU.

“Thousands of bus and truck drivers are stranded at internal borders on parking lots, creating morRead More – Source