Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 220

COVID-19: EU must ensure access to medical gear and future vaccine, MEPs say

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 27 marzo 2020

All the EU internal market tools should be used against the COVID-19 crisis. Price hikes and scams on consumers must be stopped and all must have equal access to a future vaccine.In a letter addressed on Monday to the EU Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager (Europe Fit for the Digital Age), Commissioners Thierry Breton (Internal Market) and Didier Reynders (Justice), as well as to the Croatian Presidency of the Council, Parliament’s Internal Market Committee calls for further action to be taken to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.“We must show our citizens that the EU is here when they need it. In this time of uncertainty, we must preserve the achievements of the internal market and consumer protection more than ever and use all available tools to their full extent”, says the letter, signed by Internal Market Committee Chair, Petra de Sutter, on behalf of the committee.In order to prevent a shortage of essential goods, such as food, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and personal protection equipment, the Commission must monitor any restrictions imposed by member states on the free movement of goods in the internal market and ensure that they respect EU rules, MEPs stress.EU countries should also make sure that professional services, especially in the healthcare, childcare or elderly care sectors in cross-border regions can continue to run.“Joint procurement needs to be strengthened, so that it can be used to purchase the vaccine once it is available, and in order to avoid price speculation and allow for equal access in the European Union”, says the Internal Market Committee.MEPs also call for EU countries to coordinate in using innovative technologies such as 3D printing. “The additive manufacturing sector could provide immediate solutions for hospitals that are experiencing sudden shortages in equipment or limited access to essential pieces for personal protective equipment”, they say in the letter.MEPs urge the EU Commission and national authorities to proactively monitor the market during the crisis to prevent consumers from being harmed due to the COVID-19 situation.They should share information about malpractice, e.g. misleading claims about why prices have increased or coronavirus-related scams, in particular for products that are currently in high demand. A consistent and coordinated approach to tackle the misleading practices of rogue traders is needed, in particular for those selling false medical equipment online, says the committee.Finally, the committee welcomes the Commission’s guidelines on the EU passenger rights regulations and the reference to the travel package rules, which allow passengers to cancel their trips without penalty in such “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” and which require tour operators to provide assistance to travellers blocked abroad.

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