EU to buy medical equipment for hospitals for EUR 50 mln

  • 2020-03-23
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The European Union is planning to buy medical equipment for hospitals for altogether 50 million euros -- tests, masks and respiratory ventilators will be jointly procured by the member states.

The European Parliament is working with member states to ensure that the EU can buy ventilators, masks and other medical equipment to be put at the disposal of hospitals across the EU.

Last week, the European Commission set up a scheme to gather medical equipment through rescEU so that the necessary supplies to combat COVID-19 can quickly get to member states facing shortages of equipment. This equipment is needed to treat infected patients, protect health care workers and help slow down the spread of the virus.

The European Parliament is working with member states to swiftly approve 40 out of 50 million euros for intensive care medical equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment, such as reusable masks. The European Commission, on its part, can allocate 10 million euros for the purchase of medical equipment.

Member states are also joining forces under the Joint Procurement Agreement to buy personal protective equipment, respiratory ventilators and items necessary for coronavirus testing. Working together in this way will give them a stronger position on the world market.

"Last week, Europe took several historic decisions to counter COVID-19, including its impact on the EU economy. We do not say this enough and we do not say it loud enough. Europe is doing everything it can to save lives. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has previously saved EU citizens in the midst of earthquakes, hurricanes and floods and fighting forest fires. We are now, for the very first time, using EU funds under rescEU to support member states' efforts to combat the virus by ensuring we have much needed medical and protective equipment. It is EU solidarity in action," Pascal Canfin, chairman of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, said.

"The current crisis also shows that having sufficient means to match the needs of the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism program post-2020 is important, as per the European Parliament's position," Canfin added.

RescEU is part of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which strengthens cooperation between EU countries in the field of civil protection. Since rescEU was created in 2019, the EU can directly assist member states hit by disasters when national capacities are overstretched.

Thanks to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, more than 1,800 citizens have been repatriated from all over the world following the outbreak of COVID-19.