Coronavirus: EU joint procurement 'shows power of working together'

posted by Charlie Hart
25 March 2020

The European Union has successfully purchased crucial personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers treating Covid-19 as part of a joint procurement scheme. 

Producers of equipment – including masks, gloves, overalls, goggles and face shields – have met and in some cases exceeded the amount requested by member states, the European Commission (EC) said. 

Following a joint procurement process launched last week, offers are currently being evaluated by member states and contracts are expected to be signed within days. 

The equipment will be available in as little as two weeks after the contracts have been signed, depending on the production capacity of the companies and delivery time needed as well as the contract specifications. 

EC president Ursula von der Leyen said: “All over the world, there's right now a tremendous need for protective clothing and medical equipment. It is therefore a success that the Joint European Procurement Initiative has been able to secure on the world market concrete offers of considerable scale on shortest notice. 

“This is EU solidarity in action. It shows that being part of the union pays off. This material should soon provide considerable relief in Italy, Spain and in 23 more member states. Now it is up to the member states to sign the necessary contracts swiftly.”

Thierry Breton, the commissioner in charge of internal market and industry, said: “This joint procurement demonstrates the power of working together in a coordinated manner. It allows member states to join forces when purchasing medical supplies. 

“In parallel, we continue working with industry to increase production and activate alternative ways of manufacturing the equipment we need. The commission will continue to support this collective industrial effort and work with member states so that the material reaches those who need it most urgently.”

Last week, the EU announced it was creating a stockpile of medical equipment including ventilators, respirators and vaccines to support member states through the Covid-19 pandemic.

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