COVID-19: Commission acts to ensure supply of personal protective equipment in the European Union

Yesterday, the Commission introduced a requirement for exports of personal protective equipment (PPE) outside Europe to take place only if authorised by Member States. The measure, adopted under urgency procedure for a period of six weeks, aims to protect the availability of supplies of such equipment within the EU single market. As explained in the statement by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, this measure is part of a three-pronged approach: the Commission works with industry to ramp up production, takes measures to keep in the EU the protective equipment that we need and makes efforts to ensure that goods keep flowing across Europe so that we can share that equipment. President von der Leyen said: “Today it is Italy that rapidly needs large quantities of medical goods. But in a few weeks other countries will need it. By producing more, keeping it in the EU, and sharing with each other we can protect our health workers, patients and contain the spread of the virus. This is why I proposed this European solution.” Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, said: “The challenges presented by the spread of COVID-19 justify the urgency of this action. No effort is being spared by the Commission to offer concrete help to our citizens and all those who take care of them.” The export authorisation covers equipment such as masks, protective spectacles and visors, face shields, mouth-nose protection and protective garments. Member States will now be consulted on the potential adaptations of the measure and future steps. For more information, see the President’s video message, the press release and implementing regulation available online.