Labour MEP Miriam Dalli is pushing for the European Union to jointly procure medical equipment to be used across member states to battle the novel coronavirus.
The joint procurement exercise would allow the EU bulk buy medical equipment such as ventilators to then distribute among member states, pushing purchase prices down while also ensuring smaller countries such as Malta are able to access the vital items.
The European Commission has already successfully concluded a joint procurement exercise of masks, surgical gowns, face-shields and other protective gear.
“This is the time for real solidarity. A coordinated effort is needed to ensure that medical equipment is distributed amongst all member states,” Dalli, who serves as vice-president of the S&D grouping, said.
“Instead of every EU country trying to do it locally, a coordinated EU effort could ensure that life-saving equipment is distributed more fairly. This should also apply to the procurement of the vaccine against COVID-19, once it becomes available.”
Dalli is part of an S&D task force responsible for drafting a policy action plan with measures aimed at helping the fight against the pandemic and tackle the consequences and aftermath.
The plan – which includes the joint procurement proposal – will be presented to European Council president Charles Michel and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
The action plan looks at the impact of the pandemic on public health, the economy and the social welfare. In its policy plan, the S&D warns that an ineffective and insufficient political response to the COVID-19 crisis could result in millions of job losses.