Dominic Raab claims UK is working ‘very closely with EU partners’ over coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 13:38 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:38 29 April 2020

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

Dominic Raab has claimed that the UK is working ‘very closely’ with its EU partners during the coronavirus outbreak.

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The foreign secretary was asked by Labour’s Geraint Davies why the UK opted out of joint procurement schemes for ventilators and medical equipment.

Referencing a top civil servant’s comments that it was a “political decision” not to join the schemes, before withdrawing them in a subsequent letter, Davies asked: “The UK opted out of the EU joint procurement of PPE, ventilators and medical equipment. Can the first secretary confirm whether this was a political or commercial decision?”

Raab said had the UK been able to take part in the EU’s PPE procurement round it would “not have made any significant extra difference or added any value” to the UK’s Covid-19 preparedness.

“It’s very clear to us that the schemes, in relation to the first batch of EU-wide procurement, would not have made any significant extra difference or added any value to what we were doing here.

“We can look at any future procurement-wide initiatives for example of therapeutics.”

He went on to add that the UK was working with its EU partners during the outbreak as part of a “collaborative internationalist approach”.

He said: “I can also reassure him that we are working very closely with our EU partners on returns and repatriations and that’s something where we have taken advantage of EU-wide schemes if it can help us share costs and the collaborative internationalist approach that the UK government takes.”

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