Coronavirus: rescEU medical stockpile expands in four Member States

(Credit: Unsplash)

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


As of today, Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia will become new host countries for rescEU medical supplies. In addition, a second medical reserve will be hosted by Germany – already a rescEU host country. In total, there are now nine countries hosting the common European stockpiles of medical equipment.

Supplies now include:

  • more than 65 million medical masks and 15 million FFP2 and FFP3 masks;
  • more than 280 million pairs of medical gloves;
  • close to 20 million medical gowns and aprons;
  • Several thousand oxygen concentrators and ventilators.

This common European stock of lifesaving medical equipment is distributed across Europe at times of medical emergencies, for example when national health systems are overwhelmed by coronavirus patients. It has already delivered essential medical supplies to Croatia, Czechia, France, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

”The coronavirus remains a profound health challenge in 2021 and we know from last year that we can never let our guard down. With the four additional rescEU medical reserves in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Slovenia, the EU ensures that vulnerable groups and health workers receive equipment necessary for protecting and maintaining robust health systems across the continent,” said Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič.

How the rescEU medical reserve works

The rescEU medical reserve includes different types of medical equipment, such as protective masks or medical ventilators used in intensive care. The reserve is hosted by Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the Netherlands who are responsible for procurement. The European Commission finances 100% of the assets including storage and transport.

The Emergency Response Coordination Centre coordinates the distribution of the supplies, ensuring it goes where it is needed most, based on the needs expressed by countries requesting EU assistance under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Background

The strategic medical capacity is part of the wider rescEU reserve, including other capacities such as aerial firefighting means and medical evacuation capacities. The rescEU reserve constitutes the “last resort” layer of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which can be activated for all types of natural and man-made hazards. EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey participate in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

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