The European Commission announced on Thursday that it will create a strategic stock of medical equipment such as ventilators for intensive care, protection for personnel such as reusable masks, medicines for therapeutic treatment and other laboratory supplies to help EU countries combat the effects of the coronavirus. The initial budget for this arsenal amounts to 50 million euros, of which 40 million are subject to the approval of the budgetary authorities.
“We put EU solidarity into action for the benefit of all our Member States and our citizens. Helping each other is the only way forward “, defended the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The reservation will be hosted by one or more Member States. The host State will be responsible for the acquisition of the equipment. The Commission will finance 90% of the stocks and the Emergency Response Coordination Center will be in charge of managing the distribution of the equipment so that it reaches where it is most needed.
This kind of ‘joint pharmacy’ joins the Joint Acquisition Agreement for sanitary equipment whereby States that are in the process of acquiring personal protection equipment, ventilators and tests for coronavirus tests have a ‘solid’ position by negotiating with the industry about the availability and price of medical products. “
The initiative, which is part of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, will officially become law this Friday. And from that moment on, a direct grant covering 90% of stocks can be requested, while the remaining 10% will be assumed by the Member State.
The Commissioner responsible for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, acknowledged during the presentation of this plan “almost all countries have been surprised” the rapid spread of the pandemic, in addition to summoning citizens to follow security recommendations (especially influencing social distancing) to try to stop the expansion curve as soon as possible.