Sunday

17th Feb 2019

Amnesty takes aim at EU's 'conflict minerals' plan

The EU has agreed on a framework to stop the the trade in so-called conflict minerals, illegally mined materials used to finance armed conflicts particularly in African countries.

The aim of the forthcoming EU rule is for European companies to source materials including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold responsibly. They are minerals typically used in everyday products such as mobile phones, laptops, cars and jewellery.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"The EU is committed to preventing international trade in minerals from financing warlords, criminals and human rights abusers," Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch trade and development minister, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, said on Thursday (16 June).

The framework, agreed by the bloc's institutions, obliges smelters and refiners to confirm the source of minerals. But the proposal excludes small-volume importers.

Final adoption for the new rules is expected in the coming months.

But the agreement has already come under fire from Amnesty International, which says the proposal would still allow a "deadly trade" to continue by covering only a few hundred companies.

"Despite its rhetoric on responsible business, Europe has prioritised profit over people," the UK-based human rights group said in a statement, although it acknowledged the plan is a first step in the right direction.

The NGO accused the EU of seeking to exempt "the vast majority of EU companies trading in minerals" and putting faith in the companies choosing the source minerals responsibly, without being required by law to do so.

Amnesty's Iverna McGowan said the proposal was flawed because companies that manufacture products incorporating these minerals outside the EU were “entirely off the hook”.

“It’s a half-hearted attempt to tackle the trade in conflict minerals which will only hold companies importing the raw materials to basic checks,” she said.

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Vestager says 'no' to Siemens-Alstom mega-merger

The EU blocked the merger of the makers of Germany's ICE and France's TGV trains, citing concerns of reduced competition and extra costs for consumers and taxpayers. The two countries now want to change the rules.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Opinion

Eastern Europe Matters

The foreign ministers of Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic reflect on 10 years of the Eastern Partnership with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us