EU moves to avoid COVID shortages, ease trade
The European Commission proposed new tax and trade measures on Wednesday to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the European Union and avoid shortages of goods and medical gear, saying the new rise in infections on the continent was “alarming”, Trend reports citing Reuters.
As Europe again becomes the world’s epicentre of the pandemic, the EU executive urged the 27 EU governments to do more and in a more coordinated fashion to tackle the virus.
“The situation is very serious, but we can still slow down the spread of the virus if everybody takes their responsibility,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference.
To avoid risks of new shortages of medical equipment, which dogged the bloc at the beginning of the pandemic in spring, the commission said it had launched joint procurement for gear needed to inoculate people, such as syringes and disinfectants.
It also extended until April a temporary suspension of customs duties and sales tax on the import of medical equipment.
EU countries could also exempt COVID-19 testing kits and vaccines from sales tax, the commission said.