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14 Dec 2023

EU: German Chancellor in focus as internal Govt. blockade stalls formal adoption of already agreed CSDDD compromise

In the early morning of 14 December 2023, negotiators from the European Parliament, Council (member states) and Commission reached a final political deal on the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). A joint press conference took place the same day.

Civil society welcomed the Trilogue agreement as a landmark moment for human rights and environmental protections in business, but criticised serious loopholes and missed opportunities, such as the exclusion of financial activities from due diligence.

Following the political agreement, final technical details were worked out, paving the way for EU Parliament and Council to formally adopt the directive (final 4 column document here). However, despite ongoing business support for the directive and comprehensive protections for SMEs, German junior coalition partner FDP - in a last-minute move that received much international and national criticism - announced it was rejecting the compromise. They are currently blocking German support for the CSDDD in Council (while reportedly trying to convince other member states to withdraw their support too).

Business statement

Undermining the compromise creates legal uncertainty: companies including Bayer, ALDI SÜD & Ritter Sport call on Chancellor Scholz

Overview: Most recent business support for CSDDD

Examples of business voice in support of the due diligence directive in February 2024

Resource Centre Commentary

A milestone despite serious omissions - BHRRC reaction to the political agreement reached in December 2023

"How Change Can End Corporate Abuse"

Phil Bloomer, BHRRC's Executive Director, and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, comment on the CSDDD agreement in Newsweek.

Numerous academics and large and small companies and their networks have since called on the German Government and Chancellor Scholz to secure a majority for the EU Trilogue compromise. There have been similar calls on EU Governments by businesses from other regions, as well as over 300 B&HR professionals and the United Nations.

Background: The EU Commission had first presented a proposal for an EU mandatory due diligence law in February 2022 and trilogue negotiations began in summer 2023, after the Council adopted its position in December 2022 and the Parliament in June 2023.

In the timeline below, we are collecting updates, analysis, civil society and other reactions to the political agreement and follow-up process. Our own press release from December 2023 is here.

For background leading up to the political agreement on 14 December 2023, please refer to this story.

Further materials and information, including on business support for the CSDDD, are also available on our Mandatory Due Diligence Portal, and in our blog series Towards Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence.

Timeline