Dalli pushes for joint EU procurement of medical supplies in COVID-19 task force

Labour MEP calls on EU to ensure the continuous supply of essential goods, and vital medical and protective equipment within its member states

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli
Labour MEP Miriam Dalli

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli said she is pushing for an efficient and flexible joint procurement of medical supplies as countries across the European Union, including Malta, find it increasingly hard to procure the necessary medical and protective equipment against the COVID-19 procurement.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many member states in dire need of urgent medical and protective equipment. Limitations imposed on selling make it difficult for countries such as Malta to access essential supplies.

In an online meeting of the heads of delegations, Dalli called on the EU to ensure the continuous supply of essential goods, and vital medical and protective equipment within its member states.

“This is the time for real solidarity. A coordinated effort amongst all member states is needed to ensure that medical equipment is distributed amongst all member states. Unilateral actions by member states go against the spirit of solidarity that everyone should ensure at this time. Whilst it is understandable that a manufacturing country would first think of its nation, this should not lead to unjustified restrictions that jeopardise the supply and distribution of critical supplies,” Dalli, vice-president of the Socialists & Democrats Group (S&D), said.

“As S&D we will work hard to avoid situations where the biggest member states have a stronger negotiating power over smaller member states like Malta. We are asking for a joint procurement mechanism to ensure supply, avoid price speculation and allow equal access for all EU countries, irrespective of their size or geographical position. 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 composed of the President of the Group, Vice-Presidents and relevant coordinators who over the past days were hard at work on a Policy Action Plan with measures aimed at helping the fight against the pandemic and tackle the consequences and aftermath.

The Action 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.

“It is vital that social cohesion is promoted by supporting national policies aimed at protecting workers and vulnerable people. Action is needed to protect our economic and social structures, people’s health and jobs and their wellbeing. It is only by acting now that we can prepare properly for a sustainable and resilient future for all,” Dalli said.

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