The rescEU medical stockpile in Sweden is ready to provide assistance
"Many people have been working hard since September last year when we received the assignment and we are happy to say that the stockpile is now ready for use," says Robert Wallén, Head of Response and Operations Department, MSB.
MSB was commissioned by the EU to host a stockpile of medical equipment and personal protective equipment such as ventilators, facemasks, and surgical gowns. At the beginning of June, the first lorries rolled in. As the month went on, a total of about forty deliveries arrived. Even more supplies will be replenished throughout the summer. The supplies that have arrived can thus be used in the event of major crises when the EU Member States' own resources cannot meet the demand.
When a country needs to request assistance, they contact the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), which coordinates EU Member States’ requests for assistance. ERCC then decides which stockpile to activate. If Sweden's stockpile is to be used, MSB is responsible for transporting equipment to the country in need.
“We all learned that profound health crises can hit our continent anytime. To be better prepared for future crises I am proud to see that Sweden is now hosting our rescEU medical reserve – the common European stockpile of emergency medical equipment. Fully financed by the European Union, medical items stored across our Union will be made available to any Member State facing shortages of equipment. Sweden hosting the rescEU stockpile in Kristinehamn is an excellent example of EU solidarity in practice” says Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management.
About the assignment
- The assignment is valid for five years; the project started the 1st of September 2020.
- The total budget is EUR 20 million, of which EUR 15 million are allocated to the purchase of equipment and financed exclusively by EU funds.
- The storage area is approximately 5,000 square metres and the project is housed at MSB's existing central warehouse in Kristinehamn.
- The EU is establishing a total of 9 different stockpiles throughout Europe. There are stockpiles in Germany, Romania, Greece, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Netherlands.
- MSB is the project manager and responsible for the warehousing and transport of requested equipment. The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) is responsible for the procurement of medical equipment and protective equipment. The National Board of Health and Welfare supports MSB and FMV in the development of the project.
- rescEU is a common reserve of capacities at EU level, aiming at boosting the preparedness and response capacity for different types of crises, including forest fires and pandemics.
- All requests for protective equipment and medical equipment go through the EU. If necessary, Sweden may request assistance through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, just like other countries. The EU decides on stockpile activation.
- Sweden already hosts support to rescEU in the form of helicopters and scooping aircrafts.