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Report: Finland missed EU protective gear purchases due to ministry delay

Bureaucratic foot-dragging led to Finland missing the chance to acquire PPE through the EU.

Päivi Sillanaukee
The ministry's Permanent Secretary, Päivi Sillanaukee, does not deny the delay. Image: Antti Haanpää / Yle
Yle News

Finland missed out on taking part in a joint EU procurement of personal protective gear due to a delayed response from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, reports the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat on Saturday.

The paper says the ministry took more than a month before taking action so that Finland could join the purchasing project, the paper says, in turn citing the tech magazine Tekniikka&Talous.

Finland was the last EU member state to join the effort on 27 March, by which time it had already missed four large joint procurements, it says. That was a week after the first death attributed to Covid-19 in Finland, on 20 March.

Brussels informed Finnish officials in early February of large upcoming centralised purchases.

The ministry’s highest ranking official, Permanent Secretary Päivi Sillanaukee, does not deny the delay but points out that the coronavirus epidemic situation changed significantly during the course of February, both here and in the rest of the world.

“I want to emphasise that if the situation had been the same in mid-February as it was in mid-March, the matter would have certainly moved forward more quickly in the ministry,” Sillanaukee told the paper.

The news follows revelations of bungled official purchases of protective gear from businesspeople with dodgy backgrounds, and of equipment that turned out not to meet specifications or to cause allergic reactions.

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