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EU Drafts Measures to Increase Emergency Powers by Bridget Ryder

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EU Drafts Measures to Increase Emergency Powers

The European Union’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton is drafting a new law to secure the European supply chain in both emergencies and normal market conditions. Some fear it will include measures that give the EU power to seize private property

Breton mentioned his plans to propose a “Single Market Emergency Instrument” in his internal New Year’s message leaked to the media. 

The pandemic has caused bottlenecks in international supply chains, and the initial wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 caught the EU off-guard, leading to an every-man-for-himself scramble by EU states to secure needed medical supplies. Germany enacted a unilateral embargo on exports of medical supplies, and France seized shipments of masks destined for Britain, Italy, and Spain. The EU and the UK then tussled over vaccines during initial production. A crisis in microchips, which come primarily from Asia, has also hurt Europe’s car manufacturing sector.

“The need for resilient supply chains within the EU and globally goes way beyond the impact of unexpected and temporary events,” Breton said in his letter. “The acute supply shortages experienced during the crisis exacerbated underlying, structural dependencies regarding products, services, and technologies.” 

“We need structural solutions in place for the next crisis which, whatever its nature, can trigger major shocks in demand or supply that affect our industries and can fragment our Single Market,” he also wrote.

To meet these challenges, he is working on an “ambitious Single Market Emergency Instrument” with “a toolbox of measures that can be activated to ensure security of supply during a crisis, as well as mid- to long-term measures complementing the work of our Industrial Alliances to address structural strategic dependencies, diversify sources of supply and increase EU industrial capacities.”

He plans to present the legislation in the spring.

Bridget Ryder is Spain-based writer. She has written on politics, environment, and culture for American and international publications. She holds degrees in Spanish and Catholic Studies.


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