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15 Mar 2024


EU: Endorsement of Forced Labour Regulation reduces room for political resistance against CSDDD given complementarity

"Scope of EU supply chain rules cut by 70% ahead of key Friday vote"

The latest tweaks to the CSDDD scope, delivered by Belgian diplomats to national ministries’ desks on Wednesday night ahead of a key vote among national envoys at 10.30am today, increased a company’s annual turnover from €300 million to €450 million compared to the draft circulated last week...

Several sources told Euractiv that the preliminary endorsement by envoys of the bloc’s 27 member states on Wednesday of a separate but closely interconnected legislation—the Forced Labour Regulation, or FLR— would also have ramped up pressure on wavering countries to also endorse CSDDD on Friday, reducing the political room to justify continued resistance to the law.

EU rules aimed at banning goods whose production is linked to forced labour from European markets snapped a large qualifying majority two days ago when Euractiv understands only Germany, Latvia, and Hungary abstained.

“Overall, any member state claiming to be supportive of ending forced labour – as indicated by their positive vote in the FLR vote – can only make such a claim if they also vote in favour of the CSDDD,” Chloe Cranston, head of thematic advocacy at Anti-Slavery International, told Euractiv.

”The two files are complementary,” she said, “and If the EU fails to endorse the file now, this sends both an incoherent message to businesses on their responsibilities.”

“No CSDDD means massively weakening the impact of FLR, given due diligence is everywhere in the text,” a source close to CSDDD negotiations also warned. 

Johannes Blankenbach, senior researcher for EU/Western Europe at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, added, “the Forced Labour Regulation will only work properly if the CSDDD is in place.”

“The product import ban is a sharp enforcement instrument for specific situations of forced labour, while the CSDDD is key to tackling root causes of corporate abuse and strengthening prevention, engagement with suppliers, and remediation for victims,” he said...

Part of the following timelines

EU Parliament approves Forced Labour Regulation

EU Parliament approves Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive