Starting from 2021, the European Union will create European stockpiles of medical protection equipment in order to be prepared for higher health care needs, as is currently the case with the Corona pandemic. One location for the “rescEU stockpiling” project will be in Germany. This will enable the EU Member States and countries participating in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to be helped out in the event of bottlenecks.
The coordination of the joint application with a volume of 108 million euros will be carried out by Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe. Other partners are the German Red Cross and the Malteser Hilfsdienst. The project application was made in close consultation with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Homeland Affairs (BMI). Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB), Deutsche-Lebens-Rettungsgesellschaft (DLRG), the Federal Ministry of Health, the Robert Koch-Institute and the States of Brandenburg and Lower Saxony provide advice.
The seven-year project is financed to 100% from funds belonging to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Jörg Lüssem, Member of the Federal Board of Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe, said: “The experience of all partners is being incorporated into this project. This is what makes the project so strong: It combines know-how from the relief organisations active in civil protection and disaster relief with the knowledge of state actors. Thus, the rescEU capacity will be an important contribution to prevent future shortages of protective equipment in the EU”.
The contract provides for the procurement, storage and maintenance of material, e.g. protective gloves and FFP2 masks, as well as the organisation of the logistical distribution in case of need. For this purpose, logistics centres will be set up in Germany near the airports of Frankfurt, Halle/Leipzig and Hanover. Johanniter‘s Competence Centre for European Civil Protection, based in Frankfurt, will coordinate the cooperation and agreement with the European Commission.
In the context of the corona pandemic, the EU Commission and the EU member states decided in March 2020 to build up a rescEU capacity for medical stockpiling within the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (Union Mechanism; Decision No. 1313/2013/EU).
In several stages, it is planned to set up stockpile sites in the EU, which will be maintained by the EU Member States and financed by the EU. The participating states will also be responsible for distributing the materials in the event of a request for assistance under the EU Mechanism. In a first phase in spring 2020, urgently needed protective materials were procured and distributed by Romania and Germany (through the DRK) within the framework of rescEU. In the second phase, the first sites were set up in Sweden, Denmark, Greece and Hungary in summer 2020. In the third phase, further stockpile locations will be established in various European countries.
With around 25,000 employees, more than 40,000 volunteers and 1.2 million supporting members, Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe is one of the largest aid organisations in Germany and at the same time a major player in the social economy. Johanniter are active in the areas of rescue and medical services, civil protection, care and nursing of old and sick people, transport services for people with reduced mobility, work with children and young people, hospice work and other assistance in the charitable sector as well as humanitarian aid abroad.
Johanniter‘s European Civil Protection Competence Centre, based in Frankfurt and Hamburg, is responsible for the activities of the Johanniter in the European Commission’s Civil Protection Mechanism. For many years, it has successfully conducted the EU MODEX civil protection exercise series on behalf of the European Commission, also in cooperation with partners.