European Commission’s proposal for a regulation establishing the EU Single Market Emergency Instrument

On 19 September 2022, the European Commission published a legislative proposal on the Single Market Emergency Instrument. Simultaneously, the Commission gave a proposal for a regulation and a directive to amend the harmonised product rules set out in sector-specific frameworks to allow exemptions from the rules during emergencies.

The proposed EU-level regulation aims to ensure the functioning of the internal market, i.e. the free movement of goods, services and people, in crises. Another objective is to improve the preparedness of the internal market for different types of crises and disruptions in supply and demand. 

The need for an emergency instrument arose from temporary disruptions in the internal market caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Single Market Emergency Instrument complements the existing and new EU initiatives related to disruptions. 

Content and measures of the Single Market Emergency Instrument

The purpose of the Single Market Emergency Instrument is to strengthen the exchange of information, coordination, cooperation and solidarity in the EU as the Member States adopt the measures in crisis situations. The proposal aims to create a mechanism that can effectively ensure the availability of products critical for dealing with the crisis. Another objective is to ensure better preparedness for crises through monitoring and stockpiling of strategically important goods in the Member States. According to the Commission, the emergency instrument would enable a rapid response to emergencies and crises that threaten the functioning of the internal market. 

The proposal for a regulation consists of three stages: a contingency planning framework, a vigilance mode, and an emergency mode for the internal market. The measures related to the contingency planning would be implemented as soon as the regulation enters into force. The plan would include arrangements for crisis protocol, an early warning system and training for the authorities. The vigilance and emergency modes would be launched as laid down separately in the proposed regulation. The vigilance and emergency modes would include various measures, such as requests for information to companies concerning their stockpiles, agreements and procurement of critical products, and recommendations to Member States on the distribution of strategic reserves.

Emergency instrument would improve access to information for citizens and companies during crises

According to the proposed regulation, Member States shall establish contact points for citizens, consumers, economic operators, workers and their representatives, which would provide information on the national restrictions on free movement activated during emergencies. In addition, the Commission will establish a single point of contact at Union level for sharing information and assisting in the crisis procedures introduced. The Union-level contact point will establish a list of all national crisis measures and national contact points.


The Council of the EU Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth and the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection are currently discussing the content of the proposed regulation. Once the Council and the European Parliament have established their positions, they will start tripartite negotiations with the Commission. The bodies will agree preliminarily on the text of the regulation during the negotiations, after which the text will be adopted by each body again. 
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment organised a virtual stakeholder consultation on the Commission’s proposal on 27 September 2022. The Government submitted a communication concerning the proposed regulation to Parliament on 27 October 2022. 


Hannele Timonen, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 141

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