Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

Brussels, September 19 (EFE).- The EC proposed this Monday to create measures in emergency situations to ensure the supply of essential products, which would require companies to prioritize the supply of these products to certain operators and states. which holds strategic stockpiles of certain products.

The aim is to avoid situations similar to those experienced during the pandemic, when supplies of vital products such as masks were in short supply, some countries acted unilaterally by retaining national production in their regions and Brussels came to impose controls on vaccine exports to ensure this. Enough was enough for the European Union.

“In the crisis of recent years we have worked hard to protect the smooth functioning of the single market, to keep our borders and supply chains open and to ensure the availability of essential goods and services, but we must be better prepared to anticipate and respond to the next crisis,” European Commissioner for Industry and Single Market, Thierry Breton said.

Rather than “relying on improvised actions”, the new single market emergency instrument would be a “structural” solution to help limit the impact of the crisis on industry and the economy, he added.

Brussels handles emergency situations at different levels

The proposal envisages the creation of emergency measures in several steps, so that if a “threat” to the supply chain is detected, the Commission activates “surveillance mode”, through which it will ask Member States to monitor the supply chain. Identify products and services as strategically important and stockpile the same.

In the event of a crisis with a “wide impact” on the single market, the “emergency mode” will be activated, a decision that in this case will depend on the Member States and that will give the Commission the necessary authorization to distribute them. Strategic reserves that they have accumulated in the sector of individuals identified by their services.

At this stage, Brussels can ask countries to speed up permits to facilitate the expansion or conversion of production lines or to ensure critical products reach the market quickly.

As a “last resort” and in “exceptional circumstances”, the Commission will have the power to require companies to prioritize the supply of certain components or finished products to economic operators identified in Brussels before any other customer.

“Companies must comply or give serious reasons that explain their refusal,” the Community Executive explained in a statement.
In addition, at this stage, Brussels can allow companies to provide information on the status of their activities and accelerated testing and accreditation processes to speed up the market placement of certain products.

Looking forward to your discussion

Brussels sees the instrument as equivalent to measures other powers already have in place for these situations, such as the American Manufacturing Protection Act, which also provides for priority orders or requests for information from companies.

The proposal must now be discussed by member states and the European Parliament so that it can be implemented.

Edited by Rocio Casas

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