Tuesday 22nd Sep 2020 - Logistics & Supply Chain

EU must safeguard free flow of goods

The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) has called on the European Commission to safeguard the free flow of goods within member states.

In a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, the ESC argues that the EU should focus on improving its outer borders. In the meantime, member states should work with businesses to make internal border controls both safe and efficient.

The ESC represents the logistic interests of manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers, and sees the internal European market as one of the biggest assets of the EU.

It said that the reintroduction of border controls within the EU “worries businesses throughout Europe, as they can potentially hamper trade flows between businesses and their commercial partners within the Union. The total damage of the reintroduction of border controls could already amount up to 3 billion euros.

“The total damage could however be considerably higher if the measures would cause a decrease of intra-European trade volumes. Moreover, businesses’ logistical planning will be complicated by unexpected delays at internal borders, which will cause longer lead times.”

A final solution can only be a European one, the ESC argued in the letter. “Only if member states feel comfortable with the level of controls at the outer European border, will they consider to lift controls at the intra EU borders. The Commission should in our view focus on improved protection of the outer border. For the time being it is very important that border controls respect the European principle of free traffic of goods. Border inspection agencies should at the same time take into account the large economic value added of goods transport.

“This could be done by opening separate lanes for commercial vehicles (for instance by allowing commercial vehicles to use emergency lanes). Companies taking measures preventing people trafficking should get a green lane. The Commission could urge Member States to consider these measures.”

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