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Gibraltar protected from EU’s strict rules on PPE procurement

An EU regulation which treated Gibraltar as a third country and restricted the export of personal protection equipment (PPE) to the Rock is to be amended this week, meaning that future shipments will not require prior authorisation as is the case for exports to non-EU countries.

PPE exports to countries outside of the EU were restricted by way of EU regulations last month in order to protect the availability of supplies within the bloc.

Gibraltar was considered a ‘Third Country’ for the movement of such goods under the tighter export authorisation regime.

“This created a hiccup in the export process and put Gibraltar outside the standard [EU] export authorisation regime,” the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said at the daily press briefing.

Consignments have nonetheless come through, thanks in part to support from Spanish authorities. Separately, lobbying in Brussels led to Gibraltar’s exemption from the amended regulations.

“This issue was identified at an early stage and taken up by the United Kingdom at a high level in Brussels,” Dr Garcia said.

“The EU measure is being renewed this week. We are told that it will be amended in order to provide for export to Gibraltar and also to some eastern Balkan countries. We are grateful for this.”

The decision to exempt Gibraltar from the stricter EU regime on PPE exports to third countries was also supported by Spain.

In other developments, Dr Garcia explained that Gibraltar’s “orderly and phased” release from lockdown was discussed at Tuesday morning’s cabinet meeting.

“These discussions are happening all over Europe,” he said adding that the starting point for Gibraltar is Public Health advice.

“And we are clear that this must be an orderly and a phased release, one which can be reversed at any time.”

“Each step in the process will be followed by a pause in order to monitor the effects of relaxation.”

“We will loosen, but understand that we may need to tighten again for there is no proven path for release and we are in uncharted waters where every country faces different challenges.”

“We do too. Gibraltar has avoided a surge so far. We have done well but the surge may still come and we must guard against this.”

The number of confirmed cases of the virus in Gibraltar remains 132 of which 120 have fully recovered.

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