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Public Consultation - New EU instrument to ensure the functioning of the Single Market during emergencies

The European Commission has published on its website the "Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) " initiative, which aims to inform the public and stakeholders about the Commission's future legislative work, so that they can provide feedback on the Commission's understanding of the problem and possible solutions, and provide any relevant information they may have, including the potential impacts of the different options.

The initiative is part of the Commission's 2022 Work Programme, which addresses fragmentation, barriers and vulnerabilities of the Single Market in emergency situations EU Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) ( a The Commission proposes a new directive to enhance the resilience of critical entities providing essential services in the EU ( In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is a need to build a stronger economic base that is more resilient, competitive, fit for green and digital transitions and built on the strengths of the Single Market. The initiative will be a general tool for Single Market emergencies.

While the overall legal framework of the Single Market is considered sound, the following problems could limit the European Union's ability to respond to any major crisis with significant cross-border implications that could significantly impede the free movement of people, goods and services in the Single Market and/or disrupt supply chains:

  1. lack of information, coordination and communication channels
  2. the lack of legal arrangements or measures for emergency and crisis management and guidance on how to apply them.

The aim of the initiative is therefore to prevent, prepare for and respond to disruptions:

  1. providing appropriate information, coordination and communication mechanisms between the EU institutions, Member States and stakeholders, adapted to the different phases of the crisis
  2. providing the means to ensure the resilience of products and services relevant to a particular type of crisis, and guaranteeing the greatest possible freedom of movement of goods, services and people in times of crisis.

The "Crisis Preparedness" pillar, if included, would aim to prevent strategic disruptions and prepare for crises before they occur.

Likely impacts "The measure" would help improve the crisis management of the Single Market and its smooth functioning in times of crisis.

An "Impact Assessment" will be prepared to identify the issues, identify policy options and assess the likely positive and negative impacts arising from the different options.

The consultation strategy is intended to gather evidence and views from a wide range of stakeholders and give them the opportunity to provide relevant information on the problems and possible solutions to the distortions of the single market resulting from the crisis.

The initiative is open to national authorities responsible for the Single Market, NGOs representing civil society, national consumer associations, associations representing industry, business and professionals, businesses, including SMEs, social partners, academic experts on free movement in the Single Market and citizens.

The call for evidence, including the public consultation, can be found at New EU instrument to ensure the functioning of the single market during emergencies ( on the Commission's official website for public consultations. The public consultation closes on 11 May 2022.