Macron's selfish Covid plan backfires as von der Leyen plots punishment on entire bloc

Dr David Lees: Macron to ‘reposition’ France as EU leader

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The measures, named Single Market Emergency Instrument, aim at avoiding selfish reactions to crises from EU member states after French president Emmanuel Macron seized face masks destined for Italy and Spain at the beginning of the pandemic.

The French President was also followed by then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel who imposed unilateral export bans.

President Macron then maintained its national export restriction on masks even after the EU had imposed one for the entire bloc.

The plan, presented by Commissioner Thierry Breton in his New Year’s message to his staff, aims at ensuring “the free movement of goods, services and people, with greater transparency and coordination … [and] fast-track decisions, whenever a critical situation emerges”.

It will consist of “a toolbox of measures that can be activated to ensure security of supply during a crisis”.

eu news emmanuel macron covid masks 2020

EU news: Macron seized face masks destined for Italy and Spain in 2020 (Image: GETTY)

eu news single market emergency instrument

EU will launch the Single Market Emergency Instrument in the spring (Image: GETTY)

And it will also include “mid- to long-term measures … to address structural strategic dependencies, diversify sources of supply and increase EU industrial capacities”.

The measures are set to give the EU executive more powers to secure supplies during a crisis.

In a move that will see a crackdown on companies relying on China for supplies, the Commission will gain the power to decide supply chains for member states in emergency situations.

READ MORE: Russia’s gas supply to Western Europe diverted back to Poland AGAIN

It will also prevent national governments from blocking internal EU shipments, just as President Macron moved to do in early 2020.

Mr Breton said the new law will be presented by Brussels in the spring.

He said: “The acute supply shortages experienced during the

crisis exacerbated underlying, structural dependencies regarding products, services and technologies.

“Some of them are needed in basic industrial applications (e.g. magnesium for steelmaking, wood for construction, chemicals for dyes), others are vital for the digital and green transition (e.g. lithium, rare earths).

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“We need structural solutions in place for the next crisis which, whatever its nature, can trigger major shocks in demand or supply that affect our industries and can fragment our Single Market.

“That will be the objective of the ambitious Single Market Emergency Instrument that we will present in spring.

“It should identify a toolbox of measures that can be activated to ensure security of supply during a crisis, as well as mid- to long-term measures complementing the work of our Industrial Alliances to address structural strategic dependencies, diversify sources of supply and increase EU industrial capacities.”

In a thinly-veiled swipe at the French President, he added: “We have made amazing progress with the European Parliament and Council, and I am confident that we will be able to adopt these proposals together under the French EU Presidency.”

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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