Single Market Emergency Instrument to safeguard EU freedoms in future crises

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September, 2022 at 3:03 pm by Andre Camilleri

The European Commission this week announced a new proposal for a Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI). This builds on lessons learnt from the Covid-19 crisis and creates a framework that enhances the Single Market’s resilience through appropriate and necessary crisis preparedness and crisis management actions to guarantee its smooth functioning in times of crises. This way, the SMEI will strive to avoid barriers to free movement of persons, goods, and services in the European Single Market and especially the disruption of supply chains.

The Malta Business Bureau supports the European Commission´s effort at securing a properly functioning European Single Market in times of crises if this is done under well-defined criteria that would trigger crisis-mitigating measures.

MBB President Alison Mizzi stated, “It is crucial that the scope of SMEI is narrow and targeted in ensuring that in crisis situations the imposed emergency controls are timely and information is easily accessible to businesses and citizens alike. It must be clear that the imposition of this definite response framework needs to be imposed only during extraordinary circumstances and that the definition of what constitutes this must be clear and homogenously agreed on.”

“Although we support an overarching crisis response framework this needs to subscribe to the principle of proportionality and avoids the imposition of excessive market monitoring. The Commission should only be required to obtain commercially sensitive information from businesses through a common agreed framework where an emergency mode has been activated. Companies must also be guaranteed that any information provided is protected.”, Mizzi continued.

In its first reaction, the Malta Business Bureau therefore believes that companies may benefit from the SMEI instrument through better foresight and planning for emergencies, less trade restrictions, less delays in production and lower prices of inputs as well as more legal certainty and predictability.

Moving forward, the Malta Business Bureau will be analysing the proposed SMEI in more detail and will strive to ensure that it is aligned with the Maltese businesses’ interests. To this end, it shall continue following the developments in the European Parliament and the EU Council in the coming months where EU negotiations will follow.

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