Remarks by Commissioner Lenarčič on the deployment of EU Medical Teams to Italy

red cross italy

(Eberhard Grossgasteiger, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


In these challenging times, when the whole world is struggling with the novel coronavirus, I am particularly proud that today I can announce a team of European doctors and nurses from Romania and another one from Norway to (have been) be deployed to Italy.

We all know for some time now that Italy has been struck by the virus particularly hard. Perhaps it felt alone at the beginning. But in reality Italy is not alone.

Through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, today these two medical teams are being dispatched to Bergamo and Milan, significantly struck by coronavirus, to help Italian medical staff working to battle this outbreak.

Next to this, Austria has also offered over 3,000 litres of disinfectant to Italy via our Civil Protection Mechanism.

Our European Response and Coordination Centre has coordinated and co-financed this European assistance. It is working 24/7 with all Member States to make sure help is channelled to where it’s most needed.

Allow me to recall, that ever since this virus has arrived to Europe, the Commission’s No1 priority has always been to save as many lives as possible. Obviously, this would not have been possible without medical staff, who represent the true fighters of/for European solidarity.

Therefore, I would like to thank Romania, Norway and Austria for coming to Italy’s support in a time that is so difficult for the entire continent. This is EU solidarity in action.

At the same time, I am glad that Italy has activated the EU’s Copernicus satellite system to help them map health facilities as well as public spaces to get a clear understanding of activities and public spaces during the coronavirus emergency.

Last but not least, yesterday Italy also received a delivery of personal protective equipment from China and facilitated by the EU. Several EU Member States have also sent protective equipment such as masks, overalls and ventilators to Italy on their own. Others have been taking Italian patients for treatment in their countries.

The number of cases in Spain has surpassed those in it. We are conscious of that and are working on that too. There will soon be a delivery of personal protective equipment. We are in touch with our Spanish partners.

All in all, things are improving, assistance is coming. It is namely becoming clear that only by acting together and by pooling resources, that we can overcome even such an unprecedented challenge as novel coronavirus.

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