EU seeks to sweep new and dangerous powers to secure critical supply chains


European Union (EU) enforcement agencies have developed new emergency tools to secure supply chains in times of crisis. It gives sweeping new powers to prevent Member States from applying restrictions on the free movement of crisis-related goods or coercing business. Break the deal and stockpile key products.

Details of this plan, called the Single Market Emergency Measure (SMEI), can be found at Announced on September 19 The European Commission (EC) will declare a state of emergency and grant powers to trigger various market interventions.

The bill responds to what the EC said were “structural flaws” in the way the EU single market operates, exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, impeding the EU’s ability to respond effectively to the crisis. is.

EC Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement:

“The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that the single market must always work, including during times of crisis. We must make it stronger,” she said. rice field.

Responding to a question about whether the new measures represented a “planned economy”, Vestager argued that “it is quite the opposite as it ensures a functioning market”.

‘We have to be better prepared’

A new crisis management tool will establish new mechanisms to monitor the EU Single Market, identify different levels of risk and coordinate responses in three modes: emergency, alert and emergency.

In emergency mode, the EC and EU Member States will establish a communication and coordination framework to enhance preparedness.

Once a threat is identified, EC can initiate alert mode. In alert mode, the focus is on monitoring his chain of supply for critical commodities, and building strategic stockpiles of such products.

In the event of a full-blown crisis, the EC will enter emergency mode and take measures such as the blacklisting of prohibited restrictions to ensure the free movement of critical supplies within the EU single market.

In the emergency phase, the EC can also encourage Member States to distribute strategic stockpiles in a targeted manner and require businesses to accept prioritized orders for key supplies. . The EC said companies would be forced to comply with such requests or explain “significant grounds justifying their refusal”.

It also provides the means to quickly bring critical products to the EU Single Market through a streamlined process of testing and certification.

“We must anticipate the next crisis and be fully prepared to respond to it,” said Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, in a statement.

“Rather than relying on ad hoc and improvised actions, single market emergency measures offer a structural answer to maintaining the free movement of goods, people and services during adverse times,” he said. added.

The proposed new document will need to be debated by EU Member States and submitted to the European Parliament for a vote, so it could take months to become law.

Tom Ozimek

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Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he’s ever heard comes from Roy his Peter Clark.