The European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN) has said its members are doing their best to maintain the necessary supply of food, hygiene products and medicines to citizens across Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
To ensure the continued flow of packaged goods, EUROPEN is urging the European Commission (EC) to recognise packaging and its raw materials as essential and to open the designated priority lanes, also known as "green lanes", for their intra-EU transport.
In a statement, EUROPEN said: "EUROPEN supports the prompt and decisive measures taken by national governments and the EC to contain the spread of Covid-19. EUROPEN members have been taking all necessary measures for the health and safety of their employees and consumers
"They are also actively monitoring developments and reviewing the effectiveness of these implemented measures. We call on the EC and EU governments to ensure that the production facilities essential to packaging supply chains can continue operating as needed while making sure that the necessary specific Covid-19 health, safety and security measures for the workforce are in place."
EUROPEN stressed that a well-functioning packaging supply chain is "particularly critical" to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of pre-packed goods safely from factories through retail and e-commerce, to consumers. It added: "We welcome the recent EC guidance on border management to establish a coordinated EU response and urge member states to observe it.
"However, delays and disruption at country borders have been observed for the delivery of (packaged) products and packaging materials. As a matter of priority, we call on the EC to lead on securing the enabling conditions necessary for continuity of essential product and service supply chains by creating 'green lanes' for free movement of essential goods, vehicles and their drivers, as well as essential engineers."