War, destruction, impoverishment: A global system in crisis

19 Sep 2022 9:21 p.m

The EU Commission has presented a new package of measures to deal with future crises. The initiative aims to prevent the collapse of the internal market in crisis situations. Also because Brussels will be able to intervene in entrepreneurial freedom in the future.

On Monday, the EU Commission presented a new emergency instrument for dealing with crises, with which Brussels intends to prevent the collapse of the internal market in crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the war in Ukraine. Among other things, this provides that, if necessary, companies can be given production specifications, for example. According to a press release by the EU Commission published on Monday, EU states could also be required to create reserves of important goods.

The Single Market Emergency Instrument is said to complement other EU crisis management legislation, such as the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, as well as EU rules for specific sectors, supply chains or products such as healthcare, semiconductors or food safety, which already provide for targeted crisis response measures. According to EU Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, the COVID-19 pandemic in particular has made it clear how vulnerable the European internal market is. “We must make our internal market work at all times, even in times of crisis. We must make it stronger.” Vestager is quoted as saying that this requires instruments that enable the individual EU member states to react quickly and collectively to any new crises in the future:

In this way, with each new crisis, we can ensure that our internal market remains open and that essential goods to protect the European population remain available. The new single market emergency tool makes this possible.

In future crises, the planned legislative initiative is also intended to prevent problems such as those that arose recently after the borders were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the course of the border closures, families were unintentionally separated, and kilometers of traffic jams formed at the borders. On the economic side, functioning supply chains are one of the most important functions to be maintained in the future.

“In the wake of the crises of recent years, we have worked hard to maintain a smoothly functioning single market, to keep our borders and supply chains open, and to ensure the availability of products and services that our citizens need. But we need to be better prepared to anticipate and react to the next crisis,” warned Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services from France, on Monday at the presentation of the new EU emergency instrument. The internal market emergency instrument therefore offers a structural solution to maintain the free movement of goods, people and services even in difficult times.

“The regime will ensure better coordination with Member States, help prevent and limit the impact of a potential crisis on our industry and economy, and provide Europe with tools that our global partners have and that we lack.”

When presenting the package of measures, Breton firmly rejected accusations that the planned initiative was a planned economy. Rather, according to the EU politician, it represents the opposite of a planned economy. But the Commission’s proposals speak a different language. At the same time, the law is intended to introduce a new mechanism for monitoring the internal market, identifying different levels of risk and coordinating an appropriate response. According to the EU Commission, this should then include two stages: a vigilance mode and an emergency mode.

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The vigilance mode can therefore be activated if the EU Commission has identified a threat to the internal market. Finally, should a crisis have far-reaching consequences for the internal market, the European Council can activate the emergency mode. An advisory group, made up of the Commission and Member States, is then set up to assess a specific situation and recommend the most appropriate response measures. She will play an essential role throughout the process.

It sounds harmless at first, but: As part of this emergency mode, the EU Commission should also be able to force companies to release certain information. Companies in the EU will then also be obliged to “accept priority orders for crisis-related products”. This means that the EU Commission wants to be able to decide in future which products a group based in the EU must manufacture. If the company does not comply or is unable to present “serious reasons” for a refusal, it faces horrendous penalties.

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This approach is intended to prevent goods, services and people from being prevented from crossing borders in a future crisis, thus preventing the single market from collapsing. Accordingly, in emergency mode there would be a black list of restrictions that countries should not take, including border closures. Unilateral restrictions would be examined in detail by the EU Commission. In addition, Brussels would then have the power to require countries to ensure certain products by expanding or reorganizing production lines, the statement said. The EU would also act as a central buyer, as was already the case with the corona vaccines.

So one thing is certain: Brussels would like to have more power and more room for maneuver in future crises – to the detriment of entrepreneurs. These are dependent on the European internal market functioning smoothly even in times of crisis, said Peter Adrian, President of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the news agency dpa. For him, however, possible production specifications would be an encroachment on entrepreneurial freedom.

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Source: RT

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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