Malta has requested over two million pieces of personal protective equipment as part of the EU’s joint procurement procedures.

The Commission announced on Tuesday that member states would benefit from joint procurement of personal protective equipment. This covers masks, gloves, goggles, face-shields, surgical masks and overalls, the Commission said. 

Member states will sign contracts on this in the coming weeks. 

Health Minister Chris Fearne has said that Malta would be open to being part of joint procurements in order to ensure the country secured enough equipment. 

According to a government spokesperson, a request for equipment including ventilators, goggles, masks, gloves and even pieces of lab equipment (swabs and kits) has been placed. 

“The amount of protective equipment requested exceeds two million pieces. Significant requests for lab equipment and ventilators were also made,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Malta could also get around €48 million in EU funds as part of efforts by Brussels to help member states tackle the coronavirus outbreak. 

According to initial estimates by the European Commission, Malta would get some €9 million in the form of unspent pre-financing, while an additional €39 million would be co-financed by the EU. 

The European Parliament is holding an extraordinary plenary session on Thursday. For the first time in the parliament’s history, MEPs will cast their votes remotely after shifting to working away from parliament as part of efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

During the plenary session, the European Commission proposals to free up some €37 billion in cohesion funds to use for the fight against the coronavirus are expected to be top of the agenda.

The Commission’s goal is to put the money “into an effective use as soon as possible, at the latest in the coming weeks”.

A spokesperson for to the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds confirmed that discussion were still underway and “it is premature to speculate on the results of such”. 

“Technical level meetings are ongoing to explore the possibility of making better use of available funds in hand for this difficult situation,” the spokesperson said.

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