Human rights law disappears from Commission plans

The European Commission has indefinitely postponed its promised directive on human rights due diligence - over 150 days since it was first meant to be delivered.

The legislation needed to enforce responsible business conduct was initially promised for the end of June before first being rescheduled in May for discussion by the Commission in what was reported as a “big win” for “corporate lobbyists”.

It was subsequently scheduled for October 27 and then moved again to December 8. The already long overdue legislation has now disappeared from the Commission’s latest agenda altogether.

The latest delay, for which no reason has been given, is completely contrary to the growing political support for the law – it’s not only demanded by EU citizens and trade unions but was also included in last week’s German coalition agreement. 

ETUC Confederal Secretary Isabelle Schömann:

"The European Commission planned to table a legislative proposal last summer.  More than 153 days later, there is still no proposal, even worse no information whatsoever on the reasons for the delay. We face a political blockage and no transparency from the side of the EU institutions.

“Every day of delay is one more day that human rights, trade union and workers' rights are abused and trampled on. It is high time to put the interests of people, workers and the planet before profit.

“Over 80 percent of citizens from across multiple EU countries want strong law to hold companies liable for human rights and environmental violations. Last week’s Black Friday however, was a social, environmental and climate disaster. The EU has to engage in protecting EU citizens, warehouse workers and delivery drivers around the world from business exploitation and abuses.

“We cannot wait any longer. The EU is missing a unique opportunity  to position itself in a global context with coming forward with (finally) legally binding rules on  human rights due diligence and corporate accountability. The EC has to live up to its responsibility and show that Human Rights, trade union rights, workers’ and environmental rights matter.”


ETUC Position for a European directive on mandatory Human Rights due diligence and responsible business conduct