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European Parliament to ensure free cross-border movement of lorries during crisis
Photo credits @ Twitter.com/bpol_by (photo for illustrational purposes only)

European Parliament to ensure free cross-border movement of lorries during crisis

The European Parliament is pushing for clearer rules and better cooperation between member states to tackle the challenges of transporting goods during emergencies. Ensuring the free movement of goods, including across borders, in times of crisis is one of the EU's most important responsibilities.

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Pölös Zsófia

Pölös Zsófia

Journalist Trans.info

07.02.2024

The European Parliament is pushing for clearer rules and better cooperation between member states to tackle the challenges of transporting goods during emergencies. Ensuring the free movement of goods, including across borders, in times of crisis is one of the EU's most important responsibilities.

European Parliament to ensure free cross-border movement of lorries during crisis
Photo credits @ Twitter.com/bpol_by (photo for illustrational purposes only)

Yesterday, the European Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the regulation for a single market emergency instrument, which after the agreement will be renamed Internal Market Emergency and Resilience Act (IMERA).

“Faced with repeated crises, Europe must prove that it can provide a high level of protection for its citizens, workers and businesses. In times of crisis, the Union must avoid creating unjustified obstacles while respecting fundamental rights, including the right to strike. The new legislative instrument adopted today is aimed precisely at guaranteeing an internal market that ensures the stability of supply chains for critical goods and services, secures welfare and prepares us to face the challenges ahead, ” said Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy and Employment, commenting on the European Council’s announcement about the proposed instrument.

IMERA aims to provide authorities with the tools to respond quickly to disruptions and minimise delays to the movement of goods. Key to the Parliament’s agenda is the establishment of a proactive approach to crisis response, involving continuous monitoring of potential crises and pre-emptive action to mitigate their impact on freight transport.

The emergency instrument also aims to promote closer cooperation and information exchange between Member States through the creation of an Advisory Group. This group, composed of representatives of the Commission and Member States, will play a crucial role in assessing situations related to freight transport and recommending coordinated responses to disruptions.

The agreement provides for last-resort measures when a crisis threatens the supply of critical goods and services. In such circumstances, the Commission could request data from companies, such as stock levels of certain products. If companies refuse to provide this information, they would have to explain why,” the EU’s press release states.

The Council adds that member states should also be transparent about the measures they are taking to deal with the crisis, and have an information exchange platform to be aware of the measures taken by other Member States.

“In the event of serious and persistent crisis-related shortages, the Commission may issue priority calls for the purchase of critical goods or services. Companies can accept these requests voluntarily and will be legally covered for liability towards their other trading partners if they fail to meet other contractual obligations. This order would have to comply with competition rules and should not affect the security or defence competencies of Member States,” reads the proposal.

In these exceptional circumstances, the Commission and contracting authorities from the member states may carry out a joint procurement procedure to acquire crisis-relevant or critical goods or services. Member states may also procure such goods in coordination with other members, ensuring that the Commission and the Single Market Emergency Board are informed.

Additionally, IMERA proposes measures to facilitate the free movement of goods during crises, such as providing digital tools and streamlining administrative processes.

However, first, The provisional agreement needs to be endorsed and formally adopted by both the European Parliament and the Council, then, once the regulation comes into force, member states will have a period of 18 months to implement the new rules.

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