Plenary speech on self-certification of importers of minerals and metals originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas

Marietje
Marietje Schaake (ALDE) – Mr President, it is essential that trade policies are a key element in broader EU foreign policy goals, such as conflict resolution, human rights and development. That is why we need effective measures to break the link between the world’s most terrible conflicts and the role the trade in minerals plays in them; a link that currently leads from war to our living rooms. We must make a clear distinction between legitimate mining and trading in blood-stained minerals globally. For our Group, the Commission proposals – which were mostly voluntary measures – did not go far enough. We put forward amendments with mandatory schemes for smelters and refiners, which are the key players in this market and cover most of the global market. We also called for support mechanisms for small and medium-sized enterprises in their efforts to ensure due diligence and compliance, because consumers deserve transparency. Through a review, we ensure that adequate enough mechanisms are in place to make sure that we accomplished in practice what we hope to accomplish now with this regulation. There are important lessons to be learned from the past, such as from the Dodd-Frank Act which unintentionally led to Congo-free instead of conflict-free implications and hurt many people in their legitimate work and livelihoods. We should not hurt people with our good intentions. So meanwhile, while we focus on these important trade measures, let us look at the bigger picture too and keep an eye on all measures that are needed to end conflict all over the world, especially in the Great Lakes regions.
See also: 16-04-2015 Curbing the trade in conflict minerals requires a realistic approach