BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Economy Ministry said on Wednesday that export licenses for the export of protective equipment to Italy, Switzerland and Austria had been issued, including for 400,000 protective masks to go to Italy.

The move came after Berlin said on Saturday that, in agreement with the European Commission, it was amending a decree issued earlier this month that required a government agency to approve exports of protective equipment such as masks, goggles and gloves.

Under the amendment, the government agency concerned, BAFA, can approve in advance exports of protective equipment, for example, “to counteract a threat to the vital needs in a member state of the European Union”, the ministry said.

Germany’s ambassador in Vienna also tweeted that the German government had approved the export of protective equipment to Austrian hospitals.

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