Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission
Whilst the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union allows for exceptional restrictions to the fundamental principle of free movement of goods, these need to remain appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. In line with its guidelines, the Commission reacted actively to any export restriction imposed by the Member States during the pandemic. National restrictions have now been lifted. Immediate action was taken to ensure the free circulation of goods, and issuing concrete guidance to prevent negative impact on critical staff.
To further prevent shortages, the Commission set up a COVID-19 Clearing House for medical equipment. It cooperates with national authorities and industry to facilitate the identification of available supplies and accelerate their matching with demand by Member States. The Commission announced its support to specific cooperation projects initiated by industry to prevent shortages of critical COVID-19 medicines. The Commission further issued a comfort letter to clear, from a competition law perspective, planned coordination in the pharmaceutical industry to increase production and to improve supply of critical medicines. Such support included a commitment to provide antitrust guidance and support to facilitate the proper and swift implementation of industry cooperation. The proposal for the new EU4Health programme adopted in May 2020, with a budget of EUR 9.4 billion, will support further action in this area.
The Commission actively supports the research actions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, developed jointly with national authorities.
A Communication on Pharmaceutical Strategy will address the issue of shortages and reliance of the pharmaceutical manufacturing chain on third countries.
-  Annex 2 of the communication on the coordinated economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak COM(2020) 112 of 13.3.2020 and guidelines on the optimal and rational supply of medicines to avoid shortages during the COVID-19 outbreak C(2020) 2272 of 8.4.2020.
-  C(2020) 3200 of 8.4.2020.
-  COM(2020) 405 of 28.5.2020.
-  For example: structural stockpiling of crisis relevant products (including medicines), investments directed at strengthening production capacity, and, more generally, actions to increase the availability of medicines in the Union.
-  Among other via the ERAvsCorona Action Plan.
-  Expected in Q4 2020.