Pittella: "S&Ds lead the Parliament's vote to end conflict minerals in the EU market"
After a long campaign, today the S&D Group won a tight vote to exclude conflict minerals from the EU market, both as raw materials and as manufactured products. Despite strong Conservative opposition, Socialists and Democrats secured a legally binding scheme to ensure traceability of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold, to make sure that products sold in the EU do not fuel armed militias or foster human rights violations in conflict areas.
Gianni Pittella, S&D president, said:
"A special day to be proud of being European. We all won. Europe won. All those who fight for the respect of human rights beyond and over multinational interests have won. People of DR Congo and of all areas affected by war and violence today won. After a long and hard campaign, the S&D Group convinced the rest of EU Parliament to secure a legally binding scheme to ensure the traceability of minerals, to make sure that products sold in the EU do not fuel armed militias or foster human rights violations in conflict areas. We proved that the European Union cares about human rights and human dignity beyond empty declarations."
MEP Marie Arena, S&D spokesperson on conflict minerals, said:
"I can but rejoice at the result reached today. The regulation voted through today is a historical victory that puts the respect of human rights above the profit of companies. Europe can become a pioneer in the field of ethical economy. The Council must, henceforth, take the Parliament's signal into consideration and work towards a binding regulation which enables the traceability of products consumed in Europe."
MEP David Martin, S&D spokesperson on international trade, said:
"We have seen enough of bleeding hearts within the Conservatives. What we need is action to turn the minerals curse into a blessing.
"A mandatory scheme is absolutely vital and I am extremely pleased the European Parliament has supported these proposals by the S&D Group. There have been voluntary guidelines in place for five years and over 80% of companies have chosen not to publish any information on their supply chain due to diligence. These mandatory requirements, while not burdensome on any one link in the supply chain, will make a huge difference to those on the ground in conflict areas."
The Parliament will now engage on difficult negotiations with the Commission and the Council for a final piece of legislation.