EU to limit export control of virus protection gear to just masks

The European Commission plans to narrow controls on the export of coronavirus protective equipment to just a single product – masks – as well as exempt the countries of the western Balkans from the restrictions.

The EU executive, which overseas trade policy for the 27 EU member states, set out a draft regulation on Tuesday to apply for 30 days from April 26. The adjustments were designed to meet the EU’s global commitments in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bloc’s current restrictions apply to protective spectacles and visors, face shields, protective garments, gloves, as well as mouth and nose masks.

These products can only be exported to a non-EU country with an authorisation granted by individual EU countries. The restrictions were due to run from March 15 to April 25.

The restrictions came in after a number of countries, including France and Germany, introduced their own export controls, angering fellow members such as Italy that were most in need of such equipment.


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