BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany said on Saturday that, in agreement with the European Commission, it was amending a decree issued earlier this month that required a government agency to approve exports of protective equipment such as masks, goggles and gloves.
The step came a day after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said limits placed on exports of medical equipment by countries including France and Germany undermined the EU single market at a time when it had to function.
“The government’s aim is to protect people in Germany. Equally, the government’s central principle is to ensure European solidarity at the time of the coronavirus crisis,” the German Economy Ministry said in a statement.
“Both objectives will be achieved by means of the adapted general decree,” it added.
Under the amendment, the government agency concerned, BAFA, can approve in advance exports of protective equipment, for example, “to counteract a threat to the vital needs in a member state of the European Union”, the ministry said.
It added that protective equipment covered by the decree included protective glasses, face shields, surgical masks, respiratory protection masks, protective gowns and suits, and gloves.
Separately, Germany and Italy have spearheaded a national scramble for ventilators. Manufacturers warned on Friday that hospitals everywhere face a lack of vital equipment needed to treat coronavirus patients.
Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Catherine Evans and Helen Popper