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Commissioner Reynders announces EU corporate due diligence legislation

On Wednesday, April 29, during a webinar organised by the European Parliament’s Responsible Business Conduct Working Group, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, committed to a legislative initiative on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence obligations for EU companies in early 2021, which will include liability and enforcement mechanisms and access to remedy provisions for victims of corporate abuse...

The need for corporate justice has become even more urgent now that Europe is affected by a health, economic and social crisis, triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic... [T]he Commissioner assured MEPs that it will be part of both the European Green Deal and the European Recovery Plan...

Reynders confirmed that the latter will follow an autonomous legislative path, particularly independent from the review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive. It seemed clear that the Commission has already started working on it, and Reynders announced a public consultation to be launched soon.

Challenged by MEPs and CSOs, Reynders specified further details of his proposal...

- The legislative initiative will establish mandatory requirements for EU companies...

- Reynders outlined the scope of the initiative, which will be cross-sectoral...

- Reynders agreed that sanctions will be provided for, since “a regulation without sanctions is not a regulation”...

- As for the remedies for victims, the debate is still underdeveloped, but the Commissioner agreed with the need to provide for civil liability...

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