The approach to the procurement of goods and services and supply chains in general, has until now operated on the underlying assumption that there is uninterrupted functioning.
With global supply chains thrown into disarray by the pandemic and now with the Russia-Ukraine war, it has become apparent that a major rethink is necessary, and the EU’s principles of the free movement of goods and labour has led to its proposal of the preemptive securing of supplies.
Following the major disruptions to supply chains during the Covid fallout, the EU commission announced The Single Market Emergency Instrument to ensure that any future upsets will be averted. The announcement came in 2021 as part of a review of the EU’s industrial strategy, and is now gaining traction with the Instrument remaining open to public consultation until 11 May.
The move will ensure that ‘critical supplies’ are available within Europe so that the risk of lack of access due to supply chain disruptions will be mitigated.
During the pandemic, deliveries of protective equipment were stopped at national borders, as nation states struggled to secure their own supplies.
Concerning this fundamental overhaul of European procurement systems, executive vice-president of the commission Margrethe Vestager said, “the Single Market Emergency Instrument will help us to react more quickly to future crises and ensure the proper functioning of the single market when it is most needed to guarantee the movement of goods and people […] at all times."
Commissioner for Internal Market of the EU, Thierry Breton called for more “structural thinking without naivety, and without taboos” on how to secure supply chains for the future.
He said, “we are taking a close look at the measures that our international partners have already put in place to become more responsive and stronger in defending their interests”.
A legislative proposal is currently underway to be published at the end of July.