Speaking during a visit to Rome, Andrzej Duda said that European manufacturers should be able to make such products on their own “without looking for them outside Europe.”
Duda is on his first foreign trip after being re-elected. Later in the day, the Polish head of state is expected to hold talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. During his visit to Italy and the Vatican, he is also scheduled to meet with Pope Francis.
He began his three-day trip with a stop on Wednesday at the Rome-based Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases, an Italian research centre on the frontlines of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
There he attended a ceremony in which the Italian institute, which is working to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, signed a cooperation agreement with Poland’s National Institute of Public Health/National Institute of Hygiene to work together on methods of treating COVID-19.
The Polish president said the agreement was important for the health safety of residents across Europe.
He also told those at the ceremony that Europe should become self-sufficient in producing protective gear and disinfectant amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“In this respect, we should become self-sufficient as Europe, through joint action and understanding, so that we can produce and secure supplies needed in the event of a pandemic, so that we do not have to look for them outside Europe," Duda said, as quoted by Poland's PAP news agency.
'Big manufacturing workshop'
The Polish president earlier this year urged stepped-up investment in Europe to stimulate economies and help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Duda told the media in May that the disruption triggered by the virus across the European Union was “comparable to the worst crises that have hit the world so far.”
He added that Europe needed big-ticket investment projects to gain "a fresh impetus for development."
He also argued that the continent should again become a "big manufacturing workshop" and scrap a policy of moving production to Asia and other parts of the world with lower costs because this causes supply chains to break and leads to shortages of products at a critical time.
Sharing experience in the time of coronavirus
A 15-strong team of Polish doctors and paramedics worked in Italy for 10 days earlier this year to help in that country’s battle against the coronavirus.
Based on the experience they gained at a hospital in the city of Brescia in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, the Poles drew up a report with advice on treating COVID-19 patients in Poland.