On Friday, March 20, Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Commissioner Thierry Breton joined a videoconference with EU Industry Ministers to discuss the implications of Coronavirus on the internal market and European industry.
On the basis of a note from the European Commission, ministers exchanged views on how to: increase protective and medical equipment capacity; evaluate aggregated needs and matching offer and demand; and allow equipment to reach those who need it. Ministers agreed on the importance of a well-functioning single market and the need for EU coordination.
They discussed innovative solutions proposed by industry to increase protective and medical equipment supply (3D printing, conversion of textiles production into masks, digital platforms to link production capacity and needs).
They exchanged on how to avoid supply chain disruptions and to address the economic impact of the outbreak on businesses. In this context, Commissioner Breton highlighted that current efforts to bring all players operating in the medical equipment value chain together to increase Europe’s production capacity illustrated the concept of industrial ecosystems presented in the Commission’s recent Industrial Strategy.
Executive Vice-President Vestager explained how the Commission had adopted a temporary State Aid framework to enable Member States to use the full flexibility foreseen under our common rules to support the economy.
Following the discussions, Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said, “It was very encouraging to participate in the COMPET council meeting – this strong sense of community and doing the best we can in a fast and coordinated manner. It is indeed needed. One of our most shared goals is to make sure that businesses have the liquidity to keep operating – and that the aid actually gets to them. At the same time we can make sure that we still have a Single Market – will be crucial when we shall bounce back after the health crisis. So on Thursday last week, the Commission adopted a Temporary Framework to enable Member States to use the full flexibility foreseen under State aid rules to support the economy in the context of the Coronavirus outbreak. And over the weekend we adopted five different measures. The Commission continues working with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place as quickly and effectively as possible.”
Commissioner Breton said, “We have a collective responsibility to mobilise all tools at our disposal to respond to the outbreak. We have to make sure that our healthcare professionals and patients have access to masks, other protective equipment, and medical devices such as ventilators. Now it is the time to stand up and uphold our industrial capacity, our single market, and our solidarity. Our citizens’ lives and our economy are at stake if we do not manage to confront the COVID-19 crisis together. We need to act with urgency, solidarity, and audacity.”
Full Content: European Commission
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