European companies have responded quickly to this crisis. They have shown extraordinary solidarity to face the pandemic together in order to protect the health of the European citizens. Many companies across Europe retooled and revamped their production to meet the demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), disinfectants and medical devices.
On 26 May, the Commission published a factsheet and an interactive tool collecting stories of companies manufacturing vital products to combat the virus across Europe. Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “I want to wholeheartedly thank companies for converting their production facilities to promptly help Europeans to access the protective equipment to keep them safe. The Commission is facilitating this either through what is in our power, or through co-ordination work with our member states. We will overcome this crisis only if we work together. In this effort our industry plays a crucial role.”
From distilleries to textile companies, the industry has put its knowhow at the service of the citizens to produce, for instance, masks, protective gowns, hand sanitizers and ventilators. Over recent months, the Commission has taken actions in order to create the right conditions for industry to ramp up or retool production, including asking the European Standards Organizations to make standards for facemasks and other protective equipment freely available to all interested parties.
In addition, in order to accelerate the approvals of essential products, and to help companies adapt their production lines, the Commission published guidance with practical Q&As in the following areas: PPE, leave-on hand cleaners and hand disinfectants as well as 3D printing.