On Monday, the European Union unveiled a new plan to limit the effects of future crises on the supply chain for critical products. The plan is being put in place after reviewing breakdowns in the supply chain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new plan known as the Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) was created by the European Commission (EC) and gives the EC power to declare emergencies and trigger market interventions during times of crisis. According to Margrethe Vestager with the EC, “The Covid-19 crisis made it clear: we must make our Single Market operational at all times of crisis. We must make it stronger.”
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The new emergency instrument will not only monitor the market for different risk levels, but also allows for a coordinated response in 3 modes: contingency, vigilance, and emergency.
The contingency response will establish communications and a coordination framework among member countries in case further steps are required.
Once a threat has been detected, the vigilance mode will monitor the supply chain for critical goods and will allow member countries to build up the necessary reserves of the identified goods.
Lastly, the emergency mode will be activated for a full crisis and will allow countries to strategically distribute the reserves of critical supplies. It will also mandate that all businesses accept priority-rated orders for any products deemed essential.
While the new crisis plan has been outlined, it still needs to be brought for debate before member countries and voted on by the European Parliament. It will be at least several months before the SMEI becomes law.