The European Union is reportedly drafting a law that will allow Brussels to seize private property during a pandemic emergency.
In a leaked New Year message to his staff, the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton has outlined plans for a “Single Market Emergency Instrument” that will have a “toolbox of measures” in order to ensure the “security of supply during a crisis”.
The measures are expected to be proposed in the Spring and are believed to potentially include controls on exports and also new powers for the EU to obtain information from companies on production, stockpiles, and their supply chains, POLITICO reports.
In his message, Breton justified the need for the new power by stating that the European Union “will not allow corporate interests to interfere with the greater interest of the European people.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also expressed a desire for an EU Single Market Emergency Instrument to help “fast-track decisions, whenever a critical situation emerges”.
While a bloc-wide system would be novel, several European Union member states have already attempted to seize private goods destined for other nations during the pandemic.
France was accused of displaying “a lack of European solidarity” when it was alleged to have blocked a shipment of “hundreds of thousands” of masks to Italy and Spain in order to bolster domestic supplies.
France also targeted the United Kingdom with aggressive “requisition” policies, including when the Macron government seized three British lorries carrying 130,000 masks and hand sanitiser intended for UK healthcare workers. The healthcare supplies were eventually allowed to be transported to Britain, but only after the UK government stepped in.
At the time, Eurosceptic former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith commented on the ordeal: “This shows you all you need to know about European co-operation”.
EU Members Fight Among Themselves as Bloc Lags UK, U.S. on Vaccines https://t.co/TWmsTI1amk
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 2, 2021
Following a lack of support from the EU during the outset of the pandemic, Italy was forced to rely on China for assistance after neighbouring countries initially refused to sell Italy personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators.
In March of last year, Germany also banned the export of all medical protective gear such as masks, gloves and bio-hazard suits due to fears of shortages.
The European Union threatened to block vaccine deliveries to the UK in March of this year after Britain managed to place a vaccine pre-order with AstraZeneca before the European Union. French President Macron demanded at the time that the EU should “block all exports for as long as some drug companies don’t respect their commitments with Europeans”.
In January, Brussels also attempted to undermine British sovereignty in Northern Ireland with a blockade between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and also between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland in an attempt to keep hold of UK-bound vaccines.
After widespread condemnation from Dublin, Belfast, and London, as well as fears that the move would destroy the Good Friday Agreement peace agreement, the EU made a sharp u-turn on its attempt to establish a hard border with Ireland.
EU Imposes Hard Border on Northern Ireland to Seize Vaccines, Then Backs Down https://t.co/ANcqW4YSTG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 30, 2021