EU countries vote against corporate due diligence directive

due diligence directive

European Member States unexpectedly voted against the corporate sustainability due diligence directive. This EU directive would require businesses to vet their supply chains for abuses such as child labour or environmental pollution.

Back in December, negotiators from European countries as well as the European Parliament still agreed on a proposal requiring companies to map their supply chains and fix abuses. At a vote among EU ambassadors held in Brussels on 28 February, however, things went wrong in the final stage.

Several major countries, including Germany, Italy and France, suddenly expressed their unwillingness to ratify the preliminary agreements already made. They want to give their national companies the freedom to produce as they see fit. As a result, there was unexpectedly no majority in the vote on the directive.

Prosperity at the expense of others

“We see European governments that have lots to say about European values. But when it comes to changes that really mean something for people and nature, they don’t deliver. They still believe that it’s OK for our European right to prosperity to be at the expense of others,” stated a furious Lara Wolters (PvdA), who has spent years negotiating the agreements on behalf of the European Parliament.

No one knows how to proceed. Belgium, current chair of the EU Member States, is not giving up yet and is trying to find a way out. “We must look at the current situation and see if we can meet the concerns of the Member States, in partnership with the European Parliament,” Belgian negotiators commented on X.