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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Single Market Emergency Instrument

The Single Market is central to functioning supply chains, for the free movement of persons and the access to services and goods, especially in difficult times. Recent events such as the COVID-19 crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have shown that some of the current rules and tools of the Single Market are insufficiently adapted to emergencies.

Objectives of the Single Market Emergency Instrument

The Commission proposed a Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) to ensure greater transparency and coordination when a critical situation emerges. This will help mitigate the harmful impacts on the Single Market, safeguard the free movement of persons, goods and services and maximise the availability of products needed in the crisis response.

The SMEI will complement other EU instruments for crisis management like the Union Civil Protection Mechanism as well as EU rules for specific sectors, supply chains or products like health, chips or food security, which already foresee targeted crisis response measures.

Main components

The SMEI aims to establish a comprehensive crisis management framework to identify different threats to the Single Market and coordinate an appropriate response, composed of the following main components

  • A governance body to ensure adequate coordination and to advise the Commission on appropriate measures for preventing or addressing the impact of a crisis on the Single Market.
  • A framework for contingency planning will ensure arrangements for crisis protocols and training and drills, and an early warning system for any incidents that could disrupt the functioning of the Single Market.
  • A framework for Single Market vigilance will be the framework for addressing threats that have not yet escalated into a full-blown Single Market emergency and include a set of vigilance measures such as monitoring of the supply chains of goods and services of strategic importance and building-up of strategic reserves.
  • A framework for Single Market emergencies will include measures to improve transparency, actions for re-establishing and facilitating free movement, a list of prohibited restrictions on free movement rights during a Single Market emergency and procurement of crisis-relevant goods by the Commission on behalf of EU countries. Under extraordinary circumstances, and subject to additional activation, the Commission may issue requests for information to economic operators. It may also ask economic operators to accept priority rated orders for crisis relevant products, and there is the possibility to derogate from existing EU harmonised rules for products during crisis times, which is laid down in a separate proposals accompanying the SMEI Regulation.

Supporting documents & information