When EU member states met in COREPER 28 February, they failed to agree on the latest compromise text on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. The Belgian Presidency had hoped to get enough states on board for the directive to be approved, but too many are still refraining from endorsing the current proposal. And while several states obtained Sweden was, according to inside sources, the only country that voted against. 
 
This is an enormous setback. If it is true that Sweden is so actively pushing to prevent the law from becoming a reality, then this is both shameful and incomprehensible. Three years of work to bring about an EU law that will ensure that companies take responsibility for the environment and human rights is now ultimately at risk of being abolished. This affects those who need it the most - groups exposed to human rights violations or environmental destruction linked to companies' activities, says Alice Blondel, Swedwatch Executive Director. 
 
The content of the directive will now go back to the negotiating table, which means that the Belgian Presidency must do what it can to bring the other member states on board so that a majority can be secured. This must take place within two weeks, otherwise there is a great risk that there will not be enough time to adopt the directive before the EU elections in June. There is no guarantee that the European Parliament will want to go ahead with the directive after the elections. 
 
Our hope now is that the Belgian Presidency immediately tries to gather a majority of the countries behind the proposal. It is also important that the directive retains the most important components that EU institutions actually agreed on in December. The threshold for which companies the law applies to cannot, for example, be set even higher. Regarding Sweden's attitude, we sincerely hope that the government will come to its senses by listening to those who want a powerful law - from the workers in global value chains to the companies themselves, says Alice Blondel.

  • Focus Areas: Supply chains
  • Publication: Article

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