24 Mar, 2020

European standards for medical supplies made freely available

To facilitate the increase in the production of medical supplies, the European Commission is working with industries and EU countries to maximise the availability of medical equipment, such as masks and gowns.

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) – upon the urgent request of the Commission – have agreed to make available a number of European standards without delay. This will enable EU and third-country companies to start production of medical supplies that meet the safety requirements as well as to place products on the European internal market. The agreement has immediate effect.

In a press statement released by the Commission on 20 March, Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “We need to act collectively with urgency, solidarity, and audacity. I am encouraging manufacturers to increase and diversify production, building on positive examples such as textile and shoe manufacturers starting to produce masks and gowns. I will do everything possible to support their efforts. I am pleased to announce that following contacts with the Commission, CEN/CENELEC has agreed to make freely available the standards needed for such companies to be able to produce masks and other protective equipment.”

Last week, Commissioner Breton discussed the European Industrial Policy in the times of coronavirus with Bruegel and the FT Brussels Briefing. The European internal market is currently facing many challenges, including lack of supply, closed borders and issues with copyright infringement for smaller suppliers trying to manufacture medical equipment. Commissioner Breton highlighted the need for accurate data – including for example data gathered from mapping industrial factories in Europe – in ensuring sufficient supply of medical items throughout Europe. He also highlighted the importance of acts of solidarity at European and global level, as they can help everyone coping with this crisis.

Watch the Bruegel/FT Brussels Briefing event below in full.

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