After lengthy negotiations, the European institutions have agreed to establish compulsory checks on the supply chain of conflict minerals from 2021. EURACTIV France reports.
Nele Meyer, Amnesty International’s Senior Executive Officer for Business and Human Rights, said, “Further to President Trump’s proposal to row back on reforms designed to curb irresponsible US business practices, Europe’s role in cleaning up the trade of conflict minerals is now more important than ever. While this legislation is a positive step, it is undermined by various loopholes that exempt many companies – such as those that import conflict minerals contained within smartphones, laptops and other products. The European Union must strengthen this legislation in future.”
Iuliu Winkler, a Romanian EPP group MEP and Parliament rapporteur on conflict minerals, said, “The vicious circle has now been broken. The interests of communities and people caught in war and conflict are our priority. The new Conflict Minerals Regulation has the power to improve reality on the ground in war zones. Our aim was to create an efficient and workable Regulation, and we fully succeeded.”
Guy Thiran, Eurometaux’s director-general, said, “We’re pleased that EU institutions have been able to reach an agreement after several years of difficult political negotiations. The final Regulation might not be as effective as we’d pushed for, but we’re now looking forward to moving from words to actual implementation.
“Our priority is to make sure the procedure for recognising existing due-diligence schemes is workable and efficient. Europe’s smelters and refiners of 3Ts and Gold have already invested into becoming conflict-free through compliance with voluntary initiatives. EU policymakers have agreed that this best practice should be recognised – now’s the time to make that happen.”
“We do have concerns with several loopholes in the agreed Regulation. In particular, the exemption for gold imports lower than 100kg is an invitation for circumvention. A threshold has been included to avoid overburdening dentists and other small organisations importing gold in small quantities. But 100kg is enough gold for over 60,000 dental crowns. Do dentists really import such large amounts? We’ll continue to request lower thresholds to prevent unlawful companies from evading requirements.”
Spanish GUE/NGL MEP Lola Sánchez Caldentey, said, “After two years of negotiations with member states, the outcome is a watered-down piece of legislation. It only goes half way and does not put an end to the root causes of the problem. It is merely a band-aid to ease the consciences of those who are satisfied with minimal action. We voted in favour because this step is better than nothing, but we will be back for more. We will be back on behalf of those who are suffering in silence far from here. Just think of them every time you look at your phones.”
Conservative International Trade spokesman, Emma McClarkin MEP, said, “We want consumers and businesses to be able to buy products with confidence. That’s why we are taking this action to stop the trade in conflict minerals while we work alongside governments in the affected areas to find long term solutions to end the conflict”.
S&D spokesperson on conflict minerals, Marie Arena MEP, said, “The Commission’s initial proposal would have created a weak and ineffective system. We turned the Commission proposal upside down. The law adopted today will create a European market for responsibly traded minerals sourced in fragile regions and will cover a vast majority of the supply chain by mandatory due diligence standards and disclosure requirements.
“We wanted to go even further, and we will. Through future reviews built into the regulation we will continue to achieve a fairer system. Our struggle continues, but a crucial step has been taken today to break the vicious cycle.”
via : https://www.euractiv.com/section/development-policy/news/parliament-adopts-binding-law-on-conflict-minerals/