Struggling with the COVID-19 outbreak, countries across the EU are increasingly considering protectionist measures. This means promoting national agri-food products and discouraging imported products. That has prompted the European Commission to express concern about the effect this would have on the free movement of goods and services in the internal market.
The internal market is “our strongest asset in ensuring supplies across the EU” a Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV.com, adding that no member state has the capacity to meet all its own needs for all products.
The Commission is “urgently addressing intra-EU export bans and restrictive measures by member states,” and could resort infringement proceedings against non-compliant member states, the spokesperson added. “We are very vigilant and closely monitoring any reports of blockages in the Single Market. We are in constant contact with all Member States to ensure any measures are in line with EU.”
Czech Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman called for consumers to give preference to Czech food products in his statement published Monday (20 April), saying “each one of us can help them with sales, therefore I want to call everybody to prefer Czech food products while shopping in the stores or to support local farmer by direct buying from his farm.”
In an interview on Saturday (18 April), although the German agriculture minister, Julia Klöckner, spoke out against what she called “consumption nationalism.” She also said that it is “good to place more emphasis on seasonal, local fruit and vegetables without immediately calling for consumer nationalism.”