The European Union is reportedly drafting legislation that would allow Brussels to take private property in the event of a pandemic emergency.
In an unpublished New Year message to his staff, the EU’s Intermarket Commissioner, Thierry Breton has laid out his plans for the creation of a “Single Market Emergency Instrument” which will include a “toolbox of measures” in order to guarantee the “security of supply during a crisis”.
The proposed measures are likely to be put forward during the spring and could include export controls and new powers that allow the EU to collect data from businesses on their production process, their stockpiles and supply chains for their products, POLITICO reports.
In his speech, Breton justified the need for the new authority by saying that the European Union “will not allow corporate interests to interfere with the greater interest of the European people.”
While a system across the entire continent would be a first, a number of European Union member states have tried to seize private items that were intended for other countries in the course of the pandemic.
France has been accused of showing “a lack of European solidarity” after it was claimed to have blocked the delivery of “hundreds of thousands” of masks to Italy and Spain to increase the domestic supply.
France also took aim at the United Kingdom with aggressive “requisition” policies, for instance, the time that Macron’s government seized three British truckers that were carrying masks, 130,000 of them, and hand sanitisers for UK healthcare employees. The supplies were later allowed to be shipped to Britain however, it was only when the UK government intervened.
Eurosceptic the former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith spoke out about the situation: “This shows you all you need to know about European co-operation”.