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EU seeks powers to tackle supply crisis

September 19, 2022

If approved, the plan would give the European Commission powers to force EU states to reorganize supply chains and prioritize production of key goods during a crisis.

European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager gives a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on September 06, 2022
The European Commission's Margrethe Vestager said it was important for the single market to keep operating at all timesImage: Dursun Aydemir/AA/picture alliance

The European Commission unveiled a proposal on Monday that would allow Brussels to secure essential products from member states during a crisis.

Under the rules, EU companies could be forced to prioritize the production of key products and stockpile goods or else face fines.

"We need new tools that allow us to react fast and collectively," European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said. 

The proposed "Single Market Emergency Instrument" allows the European Commission to order EU states to reorganize supply chains, including expanding or repurposing existing production capacities or setting up new ones, and placing crisis-relevant goods on the market.

Pushback from member states expected 

The proposal is expected to face intense pushback from businesses and some EU countries, over concerns that the plan amounts to overreach by the European Commission.

The commission will need to thrash out details with EU countries and lawmakers before the proposal can become law in a process that could take months.

lo/wmr (Reuters, AFP)