European Western Balkans

Letter of WB Foreign Ministers on the export restrictions sent to the Commission

Family photo of the WB Foreign Ministers in Skopje; Photo: MFA North Macedonia

SKOPJE – At the initiative of Foreign Minister of North Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov, Foreign Ministers of the Western Balkans today sent a letter to European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi and EU High Representative Josep Borrell with a request to exclude the region from the EU Regulation by which certain medical products for personal protection were placed under the regime of export restrictions or special export licenses.

According to a press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Coronavirus has spread to all parts of the continent, and defeating it requires solidarity and mutual cooperation.

“Given that everywhere on the front line with the Coronavirus are healthcare professionals, we must all ensure that they have the medical equipment for personal protection at all times and in sufficient quantities. That is why we, the partners from the region, have united and urgently proposed to the European Commission to revise of the current regulation to provide for the exemption from the need for special export permits for our region”, the press release reads.

It is added that the Western Balkans is part of Europe, surrounded by EU member states, and that the withdrawal will send a strong signal that all of us as Europeans are working together to successfully face and overcome this enormous challenge.

The European Commission, which is responsible for the EU’s trade policy, adopted a Regulation on 15 March requiring the Member States to issue export licences for the medical equipment necessary to combat the COVID-19 crisis.

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