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EU plans medical equipment stockpile to help fight shortages

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EU plans medical equipment stockpile to help fight shortages

Medical equipment

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission announced Thursday it is to create a strategic stockpile of medical equipment such as ventilators and protective masks to help EU countries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical equipment part of the stockpile will include items such as intensive care medical equipment such as ventilators, personal protective equipment such as reusable masks, vaccines and therapeutics, laboratory supplies.

There was an urgent need to get more equipment to the EU Member States, said the EU's Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic: "We are setting up a rescEU stockpile to rapidly get the supplies needed to fight the coronavirus. It will be used to support Member States facing shortages of equipment needed to treat infected patients, protect health care workers and help slow the spread of the virus."

How the rescEU stockpile works

  • The stockpile will be hosted by one or several Member States. The hosting State will be responsible for procuring the equipment.
  • The Commission will finance 90% of the stockpile. The Emergency Response Coordination Centre will manage the distribution of the equipment to ensure it goes where it is needed most.
  • 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 Member States a strong position when negotiating with the industry on availability and price of medical products.

Once the measure enters into law on Friday 20 March, the Member State wishing to host rescEU stockpiles can apply for a direct grant from the European Commission. The direct grant covers 90 per cent of the costs of the stockpile while the remaining 10 % are borne by the Member State.

RescEU - EU Civil Protection Mechanism

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