17 Oct 2022

Guaranteeing the free movement of goods with the Single Market Emergency Instrument

The 30th anniversaries of the European Single Market and of EUROPEN are approaching. On the 1st of January 1993, the EU Single Market was established to provide for harmonised legislation in the EU and to guarantee the free movement of goods across EU borders. Now almost 30 years later, the integrity of the European Internal Market is being challenged by a number of crises that are significantly affecting the European continent.

In response to those challenges, in April 2022, the European Commission announced a new initiative on a Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI), followed by the publication of a proposal for a Regulation on the 19th of September. The instrument proposed by the Commission aims to guarantee the free movement of persons, goods and services in times of crisis, as well as to ensure better preparedness and coordination among Member States in implementing crisis-related measures and ultimately avoid fragmentation of the Union market. EUROPEN continues to support a strong and resilient Single Market as a prerequisite to allow the free movement of packaging and packaged goods in situations of emergency and at all times.

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  • 19 September 2022: publication of the European Commission proposal for a SMEI.
  • 20 September 2022: launch of the ex-post consultation on the Commission proposal for a SMEI. The consultation is open until 9 December 2022.
  • 29 September 2022: the Competitiveness Council discussed the SMEI. Ministers broadly welcomed the Commission proposal, and all agreed that the free movement of goods, services and persons should always be guaranteed, specifically in times of crises.


  • Q3/Q4 2023: Expected adoption of the SMEI Regulation following the Ordinary Legislative Procedure.