Brussels to intervene medical staff in future crises

Executive Vice President for a Europe fit for the digital age, Margrethe Vestager.

The European Commission seeks to strengthen its powers in order to intervene on medical templates member countries if a new health emergency arises. This is one of the keys that Brussels has included in the Single Market Emergency Tool (SMEI, for its acronym in English), with which it intends to bypass the current regulations on the commercialization of the community block to give a coordinated response to new threats. The project still needs to go through the European Parliament and get the approval of all parties.

Community executive sources are advanced Medical writing that this new tool will cover both “medical services such as health care providers”, which they exercise in the European Union. This inclusion would allow Brussels to act against “medical staff both at their own expense and at the expense of others” if the emergency protocol is activated.

What the European Commission has ruled out is interference in drugs, devices or medical countermeasuresas 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 Contingency Instrument must not duplicate an existing framework“, said the same sources.

The new regulation envisages emergency intervention to ensure the supply of certain dual-use products that can be used by both citizens and health personnel, but which do not currently appear as “goods relevant to crisis situations of security’. “. This is the case of Personal protective equipment (EPI), which were already being filmed during the first beats of the coronavirus pandemic times of shortage in hospitals.


How does the EU Emergency Instrument work?

Brussels created the Single Market Contingency Instrument as a key mechanism to ensure availability of basic 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 emergency action. The first corresponds to a contingency plan that will allow the creation of a coordination and communication network between member states to increase preparedness for a new threat and monitor its development.

The second step is the observation mode, which will focus on supply chain tracking of goods or services deemed to be of “strategic importance”. If it gets to that point, Brussels will be able to ask the governments that make up the European Union to create strategic reserves for affected sectors.

The final step is the emergency level, which would allow the European Commission to impose interventionist measures such as removing market restrictions, redirecting production plants or speeding up the issuance of permits. Brussels will be able to recommend to member states to allocate their reserves or speed up the hiring of public servants. In exceptional circumstances, you can also ask the companies give “priority” to certain goods or services. In case they refuse, they must justify the refusal to avoid a a fine of up to 200,000 euros.

“We need new tools that allow us to react quickly and collectively. So every time we face a new crisis, we will be able to ensure that our single market remains open and that vital assets 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 that the reader consult a health professional for all health-related questions.

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