BRUSSELS - The European Commission promised on Thursday to set up a strategic stock of medical protective equipment and respirators to help European Union (EU) member states cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the EU crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said only "half a dozen" of the 27 members had so far indicated support, despite Brussels offering to cover 90 percent of costs.
Nevertheless, he welcomed the news that some of those member states who had been refusing to share their emergency supplies with EU neighbors, such as Germany, have dropped this ban.
"The idea is that the member state procures the stocks of the equipment. The European Union co-finances this stockpile up to 90 percent of the cost," he told reporters.
According to a news release, the initial rescue stockpile budget will be 50 million euros and a law will enter into effect on Friday allowing member states to apply for grants.