Executive Vice President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager.
The European Comission seeks to strengthen its powers in order to intervene on medical templates member countries if a new health emergency occurs. It is one of the keys that Brussels has incorporated into the Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI, for its acronym in English) with which it intends to circumvent the current commercialization regulations of the community bloc to give a coordinated response to new threats. The project still has to go through the European Parliament and receive the approval of all countries.
Community Executive sources have advanced Medical Writing that this new tool will cover both the “medical services such as health care providers” that they exercise in the European Union. This incorporation would allow Brussels to act on “medical personnel both on their own account and on behalf of others” if the emergency protocol is activated.
What the European Commission has ruled out is intervention in the drugs, devices or medical countermeasuressince its regulation is already included in some regulations approved as a result of the pandemic of Covid-19 such as the Serious Border Threats to Health Regulation or the EU Health Security Framework. “The Single Market Emergency Instrument must not duplicate existing frame”, the same sources have pointed out.
The new regulation does contemplate intervening in cases of emergency to guarantee the supply of some dual-use products, which can be used both by citizens and by health personnel, but which currently do not appear as “relevant goods for security crisis situations”. sanitary”. It is the case of Individual Protection Equipment (EPI) that during the first bars of the coronavirus pandemic already starred times of scarcity in hospitals.
How does the EU Emergency Instrument work?
Brussels has designed the Single Market Emergency Instrument as a key mechanism to ensure the availability of essential goods and services in future emergencies, after the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 has put pressure on some specific sectors such as health, semiconductors or food.
The new tool establishes three different levels of action in emergency situations. The first corresponds to a contingency plan that will allow the creation of a coordination and communication network among member countries to increase preparedness for a new threat and observe its evolution.
The second step is the surveillance mode, which will focus on the supply chain monitoring of goods or services considered of “strategic importance”. If this point is reached, Brussels will be able to ask the governments that make up the European Union to set up strategic reserves for the affected sectors.
The last step is the emergency level, which would allow the European Commission to impose interventionist measures such as removing market restrictions, reorienting production plants or speeding up the granting of permits. Brussels will be able to recommend to the member countries that they distribute their reserves or speed up public hiring. In exceptional circumstances, you can also ask companies to give “priority” to some goods or services. In case they refuse, they must justify the rejection to avoid a fine of up to 200,000 euros.
“We need new tools that allow us to react quickly and collectively. Thus, each time we face a new crisis, we will be able to ensure that our single market remains open and that assets of vital importance continue to be available to protect European citizens”, said the Executive Vice President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager.
Although it may contain statements, data or notes from health institutions or professionals, the information contained in Medical Writing is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend the reader that any questions related to health be consulted with a health professional.