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Single Market Emergency Instrument: workers’ rights will be preserved even in times of crisis, thanks to S&Ds


13 Sep 2023


Global Europe
Today the European Parliament gave the greenlight for the creation of the Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI). The instrument aims at ensuring the free movement of goods, services, and people in the single market in the context of an emergency, like the one of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new instrument is designed to improve: coordination of procurements; distribution of strategic reserves; monitoring of supply chains; and better facilitate the movement of essential workers and critical goods in case of a crisis. Furthermore, the SMEI would allow the Commission to activate an emergency mode where member states and the Commission would monitor supply chains of strategic goods or services and can request the building-up of strategic reserves.
For the Socialists and Democrats, the text that was voted upon is a victory, as it not only protects the right to strike in crises, but also the right to negotiate, to conclude and enforce collective agreements and to take collective action. On our initiative, we also succeeded in involving the European Parliament at equal footing with the Council when deciding on the activation of the emergency mode.
Next week the negotiations with the member states will begin and a final text should be adopted before the end of the year, under the Spanish presidency of the EU.
René Repasi, S&D MEP and shadow rapporteur on SMEI, said:
“Even in times of crisis, workers’ rights must be preserved. As Socialists and Democrats, we are proud to have ensured that the activation of the emergency mode cannot affect the right to strike, to negotiate, to conclude, to enforce collective agreements, and the right to take collective action. The pandemic has once again highlighted the sometimes precarious working conditions in many critical sectors. The right of workers to use their collective voice must not be jeopardised, even in times of crisis.
“Drastic measures, such as those taken during the coronavirus pandemic, need parliamentary control. This is a crucial lesson learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, when parliamentary participation was too often put aside. Therefore, in the future, the emergency mode provided in the instrument is to be activated jointly by the European Parliament and member states. It must also be clear in advance how long the measures will apply. The Parliament has already shown that it can decide quickly in the event of a crisis and member states and the Commission will still have the necessary flexibility to deal with the crisis.”


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