Putting EU solidarity into action
Having enough ventilators, protective masks and essential medical gear is vitally important in the context of the current Coronavirus pandemic. That’s exactly why yesterday, the Commission decided to create the first-ever resc EU stockpile of medical equipment to help EU countries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the urgency of the situation, the measure is entering into law today.
The initial EU budget of the stockpile is €50 million, of which €40 million is subject to the approval of the budgetary authorities. In addition, under the Joint Procurement Agreement, Member States are in the process of purchasing personal protective equipment, respiratory ventilators and items necessary for coronavirus testing. This coordinated approach gives the Member States a strong position when negotiating with the industry on the availability and price of medical products.
In addition, efforts to repatriate EU citizens stranded abroad continue. Via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, Member States are actively making sure their nationals can return home; so far, the Civil Protection Mechanism has facilitated the repatriation of over 1,150 EU citizens from China, Japan and other countries..