06 Mar, 2024

Renew Europe: A future without modern slavery

Renew Europe welcomes the agreement reached between European legislators on 4 March on a new law banning products produced using forced labour.

The new legislation establishes a procedure to launch an investigation  by the competent authorities to check if suspected items have been produced using forced labour.

In case a product is manufactured using forced labour, it cannot be sold or exported from the EU; if it is already on the market, it will need to be removed.

All businesses, including SMEs, will be affected to ensure that this legislation is widely and effectively applied, with sanctions if they fail to comply.

The final text covers all goods on the EU market, including products manufactured in the EU and imports, independent of their sector or industry.

As a major achievement for Renew Europe, the European Commission will be considered as a competent authority, next to national authorities. It will retain a coordinating role and the power to assess situations where forced labour is suspected.

“This law is groundbreaking in the field of human rights. It will prevent forced labour products from entering our market and it has several references to remediation,” said European Parliament co-rapporteur Samira Rafaela MEP (D66, NL).

“It is a step forward in achieving fair trade and cleaning up supply chains, while prioritising human rights. To combat forced and state-imposed labour, we must work with like-minded partners and become a strong ally in the global fight against forced labour.”

“The regulation must help to combat modern slavery and ensure fair competition by eradicating the EU internal market as a market for products made from forced labour. The following technical negotiations will show how practical the law will be,” added ALDE Party Vice-President Svenja Hahn MEP (FDP, DE), shadow rapporteur for the European Parliament Committee on Internal Market.

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