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EU seeks emergency powers over supply chains

AFP . Brussels
19 Sep 2022 20:29:50 | Update: 19 Sep 2022 22:16:43
EU seeks emergency powers over supply chains
This photo shows pipelines of a Russian gas field — Reuters File Photo

The EU is seeking emergency powers that would force companies to quickly divert resources to urgently fix supply chain chokepoints, draft legislation on Monday said.

The proposal is part of the EU's answer to its bruising experience during the worst of the Covid pandemic when the United States and China stopped exports of vaccines and other crucial products in favour of serving their own citizens.

The measure, inspired by rules already existing in the United States, would force companies to prioritise the European market in an emergency and is intended as a weapon of retaliation when other countries do the same.

"We hope it will never be used," said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton at a joint press conference with Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager.

The proposal also addresses pandemic-era frustrations when some EU member states hoarded critical supplies, denying their bloc neighbours without consultation.

The text would limit such restrictions on the movement of goods and people between member states during a sudden crisis.

"The instrument basically implements the principle that in Europe we are strongest together," said German MEP Andreas Schwab who will spearhead the proposal through the European Parliament.

The regulation still has to be negotiated with the European Parliament and the member states, which may resist handing such unprecedented powers to the EU executive in Brussels.

"Member states will be closely involved at all stages of the procedure," Vestager said.