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Enforcement and protection | Brussels, 14 April 2020

European Commission narrows down export authorisation requirements to protective masks only and extends geographical and humanitarian exemptions

Today the European Commission started consultations with EU Member States on a draft regulation to adjust the export authorisation scheme set up on 15 March as an emergency measure that elapses on 25 April 2020.

In line with the EU’s global commitments in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, the scheme in the draft regulation is temporary, targeted, proportionate and transparent.

The new regulation is set out to apply for a limited period of 30 days (as of 26 April 2020), and it covers one single product category, protective masks. The Commission services find that this is the only remaining category, where an export authorisation is necessary in order to secure an adequate supply to protect the health of Europeans.

The new scheme proposes some changes with respect to its geographical scope. In addition to previously existing exceptions, it exempts from the authorisation requirement exports to Western Balkans*, which are engaged in a process of deep integration with the Union as well as Gibraltar and territories of Member States excluded from the EU customs union.

In the spirit of international solidarity, the new scheme now explicitly requires Member States to authorise exports of emergency supplies in the context of humanitarian aid and to process the relevant applications in an expedite manner.

The new scheme also asks the Member States to positively assess exports to State agencies in charge of distributing personal protective equipment or involved in combating the coronavirus outbreak, subject to a check on availability with the Commission.

In line with the Commission’s efforts to match supply and demand in the EU, the regulation obliges Member States to consult the European Commission when assessing whether to issue an export authorisation. The Commission shall issue an opinion within 48 hours from the receipt of the request. In this context, the purpose of the newly set up Clearing House is to coordinate efforts to match supply and demand in the EU and ensure that available supplies of materials go where they are most needed.

The draft regulation also includes a review clause that will allow the Commission to adjust the product scope or the duration of the provisions in light of possible new developments.

In the spirit of transparency, the draft regulation requires Member States to report to the Commission on their authorisations granted and refused and commits the Commission to report publicly on these developments.

The Commission will adopt this implementing regulation according to the corresponding comitology procedure.

The export authorisation scheme is part of the measures taken by the EU to address the epidemiological crisis caused by the coronavirus disease.

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* Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo (this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence).