Coronavirus: President von der Leyen and Commissioner Breton discuss solutions with industry to ramp up production of products needed to tackle the crisis
Yesterday, President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner for internal market Thierry Breton had a phone call with representatives of several industries: engineering companies producing ventilators and other medical devices, start-ups, car companies as well as representatives of the aeronautics and machinery industry. The discussion focused on how to ramp up production as much and as quickly as possible, including by exploring exceptional solutions such as re-using retired ventilators or sharing intellectual property. The companies expressed solidarity and offered to provide practical and technical advice to producers, to help them increase volumes faster. All participants stressed the need to ensure that supply chains and trade channels are kept open to ensure the continued availability of components necessary for the manufacturing of ventilators. Most companies expressed their support rather for existing producers to ramp up their production than converting production lines (e.g. automotive or aeronautics), which would be time consuming and not always necessarily successful. Finally, the companies welcomed the intention to delay by one year the entry into force of the Medical Devices Regulation and emphasised the need for European coordination. President von der Leyen explained what the EU was doing to keep orders open for trade in goods and to harmonise standards. She also detailed the other initiatives taken by the Commission to facilitate the placing on the market of ventilators in Europe. President von der Leyen said “I am impressed by the commitment of European industry to deliver the products needed in this challenging context. Its dedication has lead several companies to retool their operations into producing protective equipment and ventilators. The Commission is facilitating this either through what is in our power, or through coordination work with our Member States. Only if we work together we will be able to face this critical moment”. Commissioner Breton expressed his availability to be in touch with them in the future to discuss any particular issues facing the industry.