Executive summary

AuthorMariotti, Caterina; Ballesteros, Marta; Markowska, Agnieszka
The i mpact of CO VID-19 on the Internal Marke t and consumer protection - IMC O We binar P roceedin gs
5 PE 658.212
These proceedings summarise the presentations and discussions that took place during the IMCO
webina r entitled "The impact of CO VID-19 on th e Internal Market and consumer protection". Th e event
was held on 9 November 2020 and hosted by Ms Anna CAVAZZINI, IMCO Chair. The webinar was
divided in two pa nels: the first panel was devoted to the mo vement of goods a nd people while the
second panel focused on consumer protection and provis ion of serv ices. Each panel consisted of two
present ations and two roun ds of qu est ions an d an swer s.
Backgro und
Member Stat es' responses to the o utbreak of the COVID-19 pandem ic have so fa r been fragmented
and uncoordinated in the approach to the measures undertaken. The measures have ranged from
border con trols and restrictions on free mo vement and trav elling, to export bans on s elected medical
products, and bans on the provision of certain services, including those in the hospitality and cult ural
sector. Thes e measures have affected consumer rights or rights at the heart of the functioning of the
Internal Mark et, disreg arding (in some cases) obliga tions la id ou t in Eu rop ean law.
A series of actions at EU level were under taken to respond to the cons equences of some Member
States' measures and to ensure the proper functioning of the Int ern al M ar k et . These included lifting the
bans on national export, the introduction of 'Green lanes' at border crossings and common rules for
cros s-border air travel, the establishment of European-wide pub lic pro curemen ts for medica l supplies,
and close cooper ation with the pr ivate sector to ensure the free flow of medical equipment, bo lstering
the manufacture of cert ain essential goods . While the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)
recognises that the Union has shared competence to take actions related to the Internal Market,
consumer protection or transport policy, in the area of protection and improvement of human health,
Article 6 TFEU establishes that the Union only has competence to carry out actions to support,
coordinat e or supplement the a ctions of the Member St ates.
The o bjective of t he webinar was to facilitate an infor mation exchange between policy makers and
experts regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the Inter nal Market and on consumer protection. It
provided an oppo rtunity to discuss t he effects of the m easures introduced at national and EU level to
mitigate th e negative consequences of the COVID-19 crisis o n the Internal Market, and to suggest what
more could be do ne to ensu re a well-functioning Internal Mark et in these circumstances and in future
Summary of t he presentation s
The first panel started with the presentation by Professor Bara tta who pointed at unilateral reactions of
Member Stat es at the o utset o f the pandemic. Res trictions on import s and exports ar e only allowed in
EU law und er a three-tiered conditio ns' test established by the CJEU: the measures must be (a) justified;
(b) applied in a non-dis crimin atory ma nner; a nd (c) transparent. Professor Baratta stressed that, at this
stage, it is not possible to give con crete examples of the enforcem ent of the compliance with these
conditions of the adopted national measures since infringement proceedings at the pre-con tentious
stage are strictly confidential. However, an assessment of the national measures and the potential of
EU measures is possible if based on o ther le gal bases such as public health and the civil protection

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