The Brussels Offices of the Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK EUROPA) and the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) are pleased to invite you to the joint event "75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - How can we put an end to products of forced labour?"
The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) is currently being negotiated in trilogue between the EU-Commission, the Council and the European Parliament. Companies will be obliged to identify, eliminate, prevent, mitigate and account for adverse human rights and environmental impacts of their business activities in their global value chains. While positive effects on workers and communities, especially in the Global South, are widely undisputed, the expected economic effects of the Directive have been discussed controversially.
On 16 October 2023, the responsible committees of the EU Parliament overwhelmingly adopted their position on the planned ban of products made in forced labour on the Union market. In addition, MEPs propose significant improvements and advocate for compensation for forced labourers and a reversal of the burden of proof. It is now important to ensure that the negotiations in the Council also proceed quickly so that the legal act can be adopted before the end of this legislative term.
After long negotiations, the trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand is reaching a conclusion. The approval of the EU Parliament is expected soon. Some even see this agreement as the "gold standard" for future trade agreements. But all that glitters is not gold. In fact, there is still a long way to go to achieve a comprehensive socially just and environmentally sustainable trade policy.
Together with civil society organisations and trade unions, in this open letter AK EUROPA points out elements that are essential to make the proposed Forced Labour Regulation efficient, implementable and above all, impactful to address forced labour meaningfully. Those elements need to include, amongst others, remedies for all workers, protection for complainants and lower evidentiary standards.
2023 könnte als „heißes Handelsjahr“ für die EU bezeichnet werden. Durch Pandemie, Krieg und Klimakrise ausgelöste Rufe nach Diversifizierung und Widerstandsfähigkeit der europäischen Wirtschaft werden immer lauter, weswegen man sich nach alternativen Handelspartnern umsieht. Vor allem Südamerika ist nicht nur als Exportmarkt, sondern auch aus einem Importblickwinkel für Europa interessant, da dort neben kritischen Rohstoffen auch Potentiale für den Ausbau erneuerbarer Energien liegen.
The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive aims to hold companies accountable for human rights abuses and environmental damage along their entire value chain. With the vote in the EU Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee on 25 April 2023, in which the report by EP rapporteur Lara Wolters (S&D) was adopted, the legislation has cleared an important hurdle. The vote in the plenary of the EU Parliament will now follow on 1 June 2023.
To support climate neutrality by 2050, a proposal for a Net-Zero Industry Act has recently been presented by the EU Commission as part of the Industrial Plan for the Green Deal. To ensure that the EU remains competitive and does not fall behind economies such as the US or China concerning the green transition, an effective European industrial policy for renewable energy and climate-neutral production is needed.
In February 2022, the EU Commission presented its proposal for a directive on corporate due diligence. The new EU law is intended to oblige companies to take responsibility with regard to social and environmental impacts in their supply chain. The Council of the EU agreed on a general approach on 1 December 2022 and votes in the EU Parliament are to be finalised before the summer recess.
The Industrial Plan covers several policy areas and contains a variety of initiatives. The promotion of net-zero industry is to contribute to achieving the goals of the Green Deal. In this sector of future, European industry is to be given a central role internationally. It is now important to examine the plan closely for its social fairness, both in the EU and internationally.