Brussels [Belgium], September 24 (ANI): The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have asked the European Union to reshape the EU-China relations framework after Beijing charged for personal protective equipment (PPE) given to European countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When China was facing the pandemic, the European Union came forward and sent tons of goods/equipment to China, spending millions of euros on the process. Germany, France and Italy were major contributors to the aid relief.
However, when coronavirus cases arose in European countries, Beijing did not donate the PPE to Italy, and charged for the very equipment Italy had previously donated to China.
Spain was forced to return faulty test kits to China, and the Netherlands had to recall 600,000 faulty coronavirus face masks imported from China.
"Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Anna Bonfrisco, Matteo Adinolfi, Valentino Grant, Marco Dreosto, Luisa Regimenti, Alessandro Panza, Stefania Zambelli, Simona Baldassarre, Gianna Gancia and Francesca Donato of the Identity and Democracy Group have asked for reshaping the EU-China relations framework," EU Chronicle reported.
In April, the Italian Identity and Democracy Group MEPs raised a parliamentary question to the European Commission asking that considering the EU-China investment agreement should be signed this year.
In July, High Representative/Vice-President Borrell responded that "the European Commission is working with the Member States and international partners on all fronts to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak" and that "the first priority is to guarantee the health and safety of all EU citizens: protecting people from the spread of the virus, supporting the health systems and health workers while maintaining the flow of goods, mitigating the effects on the economy and helping people get back to their homes".
In an attempt to restore its humanitarian image following the crisis, China had projected in April to the world that it would donate PPE to Italy.
But later it was revealed, it was not a humanitarian gesture but a business- Beijing had actually sold, not donated, the PPE to Italy, several media reports claimed.
A senior Trump administration official was quoted by The Spectator as saying that it is much worse than that and China "forced Italy to buy back the PPE supply that it gave to China during the initial coronavirus outbreak."
"Before the virus hit Europe, Italy sent tons of PPE to China to help China protect its own population," the administration official explained. "China then has sent Italian PPE back to Italy -- some of it, not even all of it ... and charged them for it," he added.
Spain had to return 50,000 quick-testing kits to China after discovering that they were faulty.
In some cases, instead of apologising or fixing the issue, China has blamed its defective equipment on others. It condescendingly told The Netherlands to 'double-check the instructions' on its masks, for example, after The Netherlands complained that half of the masks sent by the Beijing did not meet safety standards, the media reported. (ANI)