‘The European Commission has today decided that restrictions introduced under a week ago upon exports of personal protective equipment will not apply to Norway and the other EFTA countries. This is good news, and it means that Norway will be treated in the same way as EU Member States,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
On 14 March, the European Commission introduced restrictions on exports of masks, gloves, protection suits and certain other personal protective equipment to countries outside the EU. Over the last few days, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has worked tirelessly to exempt Norway and the other EFTA countries from these restrictions. Following a dialogue between Foreign Minister Eriksen Søreide and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, as well as communication with European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan, the European Commission has now decided to exclude the four EFTA states from the scope of the Implementing Regulation.
‘This shows that the EU and the EFTA countries are standing together in the difficult situation we all find ourselves in now. Vital protective equipment may now be exported freely from EU countries to Norway. I would like to make it clear that this equipment will not be re-exported from Norway to countries outside the EU, but will be used to meet a pressing need in the Norwegian health sector,’ said Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.
In the dialogue with the EU, the EU has stated that it was not its intention to place restrictions on exports of personal protective equipment on the EFTA countries. The Regulation was drawn up very quickly, but has now been amended.