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Parliamentary questions
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9 October 2020
P-005551/2020
Priority question for written answer P-005551/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Tomáš Zdechovský (PPE)
 Subject: Reusable personal protective equipment (PPE) and its use in the rescEU programme

Protective half-masks provide efficient protection for critical infrastructure (CI), and provide protection that is superior to FFP3 standards. They also have significant economic and environmental advantages, since they can be reused and have a long shelf life. Protective half-masks are used on daily basis by CI workers, such as firefighters and medical staff in Czechia. The product has also been successful in public tenders – for example, it was accepted by the Czech Ministry of Interior in tender N006/20/V00024638.

However, disposable PPE (mostly certified as European standard EN 149) are given priority in the rescEU programme, despite their lower efficiency. Currently, protective half-masks are included in rescEU, but only under specific circumstances. CI workers have requested reusable products, which are more efficient, although these products are generally excluded from the programme.

Regulation (EU) 2016/425 classifies the protective half-mask as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Therefore, the relevant harmonised standards for protective half-masks (i.e. those that adhere to EN 140 and EN 143 standards) should be included in rescEU and deemed to be at the same level as EN149. The current situation provides limited protection to CI throughout the EU:

1. Is the Commission aware of how authorities treat standards for disposable and reusable PPE differently?

2. Is it aware of the added value that reusable PPE brings for public tenders focused on strategic stocks and reserves and on critical infrastructure?

3. Is it considering making it easier for certified reusable PPE to be included in the rescEU programme (i.e. by recognising the individual category for reusable products)?

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