• NEWS: S&Ds win the first battle for justice on the traceability of conflict minerals

    Over the last two years, we have fought a lonely but ethical political battle to ban 'conflict minerals' – sources of minerals which feed conflict and violence – from the European market. Finally, thanks to the stubbornness and political commitment of S&D Group leader Gianni Pittella, our spokesperson on conflict minerals Marie Arena and the S&D chair of the international trade committee Bernd Lange, the European Parliament reached an agreement with the EU Council for a new regulation on 15 June 2016.

    Despite strong Conservative opposition, the Socialists and Democrats secured a legally binding scheme to ensure traceability. The goal of the S&D Group is to ensure that regulating the use of conflict minerals is not some optional add on, but is mandatory.

    This has struck a harsh blow to the criminal militias that, in many regions of the world, especially in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), massacre, abuse and rape women and children in order to exploit the mining of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold. European citizens must be now aware that their tablet, mobile phone or PC are likely to be made of minerals stained with innocent blood. We are fighting to stop this.

    The conflict minerals problem is not and cannot just be considered as a trade issue. Thanks to strong pressure from NGOs and public opinion in the press and social media, we managed to persuade the Conservative members of the European Parliament, as well as national governments, that a mandatory system for raw materials was needed to ensure transparency in the sector. We have proved that the European Union cares about human rights and human dignity – beyond empty declarations and financial interests.

    Europe must treat Africa as a political partner and stop considering it as a land to be exploited.

    We count on your support and mobilisation to keep up the pressure – the fight is not over!

    Photo credit: Gwenn Dubourthoumieu/AFP

  • A more mature and contemporary Africa-EU partnership can help us address the global challenges we face. Together we can strengthen democracy and human rights, and foster sustainable economic and human development in our societies.

    Good co-ordination of the EU's external policies is vital if we want to make the most of the global opportunities we are presented with and be a responsible actor on the international stage.

S&D GROUP AFRICA WEEK

Tuesday 5 - Monday 11 April 2016

The S&D Group Africa Week is a series of political and cultural events aimed at celebrating Africa-EU relations and discussing ways to give them new directions.

E-CardProgramme

Our Priorities for Africa

Conflict minerals

The S&Ds continue to lead the battle for the traceability of the raw materials used in many everyday products, which are sometimes sourced in conflict zones, fuelling armed conflicts, slave labour and human rights abuses. This has to change and we want to see mining become a source of economic development and benefits for local communities, rather than a dangerous activity responsible for driving people off their land, drawing innocent children into armed conflict and undermining development as a whole.
 
We're fighting to bring in binding EU legislation for European companies involved in this trade so that we can be absolutely sure that the gadgets we buy, like mobile phones, are not produced at the expense of the most vulnerable. 

 

Education

Education is vital for building better futures and we have launched an initiative focused on supporting proper education for young generations missing out on schooling through conflicts and humanitarian crises. We are working together with the United Nations, other EU institutions, and civil-society organisations at a European and global level to create political support and solid financial backing for international projects in this field. Through #EDUCA, we want to offer future generations access to appropriate education in order to help them build more peaceful and responsible societies.

 

Sustainable development goals and eradicating poverty

We believe that sustainable development and eradicating poverty must be global priorities. The Sustainable Development Goals agreed at the UN Summit in September 2015 set out an ambitious agenda, but there is still much to do.

We must work towards stronger development policies to build effective social protection systems and to provide universal access to all levels of education and health for the most vulnerable, creating more inclusive societies. This also means we need a sustainable approach to agriculture and resources promoting responsible energy use, universal access to drinking water and sanitation, and tackling climate change and unsustainable production and consumption. We are fighting for more international environmental co-operation, technological innovations and incentives for governments implementing progressive environmental policies.

The S&Ds are also committed to taking action on gender equality, especially when it comes to education and health.  Women can play a crucial role in fighting against discrimination and for development, for example on improving maternal health and reducing child mortality rates. The current humanitarian crisis at Europe's borders has also highlighted the need for a new global approach, combining the fight against forced migration and the promotion of regular migration as a development engine, for both countries of origin and destination.

 

Read our 10 pledges for solidarity and development.

 

Democracy and good governance

The S&Ds play a leading role in the European Parliament in supporting the people of Africa, addressing humanitarian and development needs, and promoting the values of democracy and good governance. At the beginning of the new millennium, the EU launched a new dialogue with Africa which aimed to build a strategic partnership with the continent. In recent years, the EU has also been active in responding to the Arab Spring in North Africa and to serious challenges in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa regions. Actions intended to address instability in these regions must form part of a broader strategy involving good governance, development, humanitarian action and, above all, restoring the rule of law.

 

Fair trade

Trade can support our development and humanitarian goals. We believe it can and should create economic growth to reduce poverty; help combat discrimination and improve the situation of women and children; strengthen respect for the environment and for social and safety standards; reinforce the rule of law, labour standards and human rights; involve trade unions and civil society; and boost regional integration.

Field visits

S&D Field Visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo

From 7 to 12 April 2015, a delegation of S&D MEPs, led by the President Gianni Pittella, visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) to meet with the DRC Government and officials, the Sakharov Prize Laureate Dr Mukwege, as well as civil society and business representatives working in the fields of human rights, democracy and the fight against conflict minerals.
 
The S&D Group has made violence against women and the banning of conflict minerals a top priority of its political action in the European Parliament. The aim of the fact-finding mission was to grasp the reality faced by victims of war and violence, and to better understand how the European Union can help local communities overcome 20 years of civil war.

This visit is the first of a series of fact-finding missions fully integrated in the Group's new strategic approach to Africa.
 
The full programme of the RDC visit is available to download here.

Press Releases

Jude Kirton-Darling Jude_KD ·
2016-11-28

In @EP_Trade hearing details of EP-Council agreement on new legislation on trade in #conflictminerals reached last… https://t.co/6nXcVqlBoE