European Union countries' failure to respond to Italy's appeal for protective facemasks at the height of its dramatic Covid-19 outbreak in March was "shameful" and "humiliating", economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Thursday.
The failure of any EU member state to respond to the request Italy made in mid-March for help via the bloc's crisis hub (the Emergency Response Coordination Centre) caused "a feeling of humiliation", Gentiloni told Italy's public broadcaster Rai's TG2 news.
"Fortunately, we managed to remove the shameful blockades within the EU. It was a humiliation that only lasted a few days. But (European Commission) president Ursula von der Leyen did well to apologise to Italy about it," Gentiloni said.
Gentiloni made the remarks ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers.