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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE: +Big Business ask Clean Ethical Certificates/Labels versus Human Trafficking, on their Products

CoE: +Big Business ask Clean Ethical Certificates/Labels versus Human Trafficking, on their Products

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 22 May 2018

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- An UnExpected Mark of potential Efficiency for CoE's already 10 Years-long Fight against Human Trafficking and Forced Labor it often provokes, among others, was, during a 2 Days International Conference in Strasbourg, the Interest Expressed by several Big and Other Businesses to receive a kind of Ethical Certificate for their Products and/or Services, which would Attest that they are Free from any legitimate Suspicion of eventualy Exploiting Forced Labour resulting from Human Trafficking, as it was revealed in a Special Workshop dedicated to "Strategic Partnerships" prospects, with the Participation of Representatives not only from PanEuropean CoE's specialized Watchdog "GRETA", but also from the Euro-Atlantic OSCE, the OAS for American Countries, etc.


- That surprizing Spin off suddenly emerged at the Surface when a UK Representative, participant at that Workshop's Panel, (which was attended also by CoE's Director on Anti-Trafficking, Petya Nestorova (Comp. her earlier Statements to "Eurofora" at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coe10yearsagainsthumantrafficking.html), during those Debates, suggested to go Beyond "Name and Shame" Measures, and Start Cooperating also with Businesses which have Recently shown their Interest to make Sure and Known that their Supply Chains are Free from any Exploitation of Forced Labour due to Human Trafficking, etc, but Follow, on the Contrary, Basic Ethical Principles in this regard.


- Similar Appeals were also made by at least 3 Other National Representatives from various CoE and GRETA Member States, (including, f.ex. Belgium, Greece, Bulgaria, etc). To this was Added even the voice of certain NGOs (f.ex. from Switzerland, etc), who said that they had been recently "Approached" by certain Companies, Asking a kind of "Certification", mutatis-mutandis similar to that of "Fair Trade", etc.


- This included mainly "Big Companies",  such as "IKEA" and others, (who were also Anxious that some unscrupulous SMEs might, eventually, Over-Exploit Human Trafficking in order to Blow Prices by Social Dumping and Snatch Procurements, etc), but it could also Benefit to several Small and Medium Businesses too, as some added.


- Big Businesses were particularly concerned and Relevant, since they are linked and exposed to World-wide Supply Chains, as well as many States' Procurements', policy, etc.


 - Such Moves might, Potentially, offer also some New Opportunities for adequate "Public - Private Patrnerships" in the Fight against Trafficking of Human Beings and Forced Labour, those participants Highlighted. States are not against Profitable Businesses, on the Condition that they are also Compatible with basic Ethical Principles and Legal Obligations, they added.


 - In this regard, some Proposed to eventually establish a certain kind of "Good Practices" List, relevant "Certificates" and/or "Labels", etc, while also the concrete Example of the ..."Ethical Chocolate" (a formula used elsewhere in the Past), was praised.


CoE has Already Published, as early as Since November 2016, a "Compendium of Good Practices" on Anti-Trafficking Measures, but this concerned mainly Decsions taken by Member States for the Implementation of the relevant PanEuropean Convention, as hey result from "National Evaluation Reports" by GRETA's Experts, while, here, it's also about Private Businesses too.


 Obviously, a Good and Solid Monitoring, in such cases, would be Necessary, in order to Avoid any Risk of eventual Corruption and/or Conflict or Interest Attempts. But, the very Possibility of such Partnerships nowadays, naturally Reveals also a Growing Potential for CoE's Anti-Trafficking Fight in real practice, if it's Carefully and Well used.
Converging Facts, clearly Indicate that such Proposals might Probably be Discussed, and perhaps Endorsed, mutatis-mutandis, in one way or another, fully or partly, in the Wider Framework of an Exceptional Meeting, Tomorrow at the CoE in Strasbourg, of National Coordinators for CoE's Member States engaged in Anti-Trafficking efforts, (organized Together with OSCE's competent Representative : Comp. Statements made Earlier to "Eurofora" at
http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coe10yearsagainsthumantrafficking.html) , in order to Design the Outlines of CoE's Activities in this field at the foeseeable Future.


- At any case, it's also a Fact that, in view of that forthcoming Meeting, Tomorrow All Day, CoE's Director on the Fight against Trafficking of Human Beings, Petya Nestorovan told "Eurofora", Later this Afternoon, that she was in a hurry to join a Team of her Collegues at CoE's adjacent "Agora" Building, where they were due to Work until Late this Evening, at the Eve of the above-mentioned Exceptional Meeting, in order to Better Prepare it on Time.

 

Meanwhile, this New point on Public-Private Partnerships against Human Trafficking was naturally mentioned, by that Panel's Rapporteur, Patricia Le Cocq from Belgium's Federal Migration Center, at the Concluding Session of the Plenary of CoE's International Conference on the 1Oth Anniversary since the PanEuropean Convention against Trafficking of Human Beings entered into force (2008-2018), later Today Afternoon.

 

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I.e., just before the Participants were Invited at a Reception organized by the incoming Presidency of COE's Committee of Ministers by Croatia (May - November 2018), which had sponsored also that Conference, (opened earlier this Morning by the Croate Deputy Minister of Justice, Ivan Crncec), where a Music and Dance Group from the Caraibes performed artfully, and, (we were told), also ...Ethically.

 

 


(../..)



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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send, Earlier, to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap)

 

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3 EU Parliament votes to boost EuroGroup !

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After EuroZone Paris Summit's succes, Sarkozy calls to "think anew how to re-construct Europe !

"EuroZone and EU Institutional debates pave the way to 2009 discussions on EU Future, including Enlargment, Turkey etc. ?


23 October 2008

After EU Parliament strongly suppported in 3 successive Votes this week in Strasbourg French EU Chairmanship's move to boost Euro-Group at EU's core, while ideas on EU Institutional problems are awaited on December, "it's an open Question now" if this may lead to a debate on EU's Future, or not, told us French President, Nicolas Sarkozy''s Spokesman, Pierre-Jerome Henin.

MEPs voted on Thursday fresh Funds to support EuroGroup, after adopting on Wednesday a Resolution asking a "further Evolution" to "the 1st ever meeting of Heads of State and of Government of the Euro-Zone, taking decisions in that capacity", while earlier this week a Report asked "a stronger Institutional setting" for "EuroGroup", extended from "competitiveness/industry" to "environment, employment and education", with "increased powers for Political decision-making", according to a text drafted by French MEP Francoise Beres and German MEP Werner Langen, "10 Years after the creation of Euro" (1999 - 2009).

- Brussels' subsequent "EU Council ..(simply)..ratified the measures decided by EuroGroup on October 12" in Paris, which "were necessary to contain the current Financial Crisis", Resolution observes, expressing also support to the new process succesfully initiated by Sarkozy and due to be completed by agreements with USA and other countries at a Global level.

From now on, it's between two differend but parallel moves : EU's delay, and EuroZone's acceleration, that Enlargement and particularly Turkey's controversial EU bid, will have to search its way :

Indeed, EU's 27 expect a "Roadmap on how to deal with the Irish problem" on Lisbon Treaty ratification after December, risking to pass even 2009 Elections and next Commission with the old Nice Treaty of 2000, out-dated and unfit even for 2004's Enlargement...

On the contrary, EU's core launches a real "Economic Governance for EuroZone at the highest level of Heads of State/Government" of the 15, which started in Paris on October 12 and was strongly supported this week in Strasbourg by Sarkozy and EU Parliament.
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- "It's a good idea, to launch such a debate ("on EU's Future") in EU Parliament in view of 2009 Euro-Election : Perhaps some MEPs will seize an opportunity", told us mainstream French MEP Alain Lamassoure, former EU Minister and EU Spokesman for France's governing party UMP.

- "All MEPs' debates on such EU Councils are also part of the larger debate on Europe's future : Now with EuroZone, and even more when, on December, Irish Prime Minister is due to table proposals in Strasbourg on how to deal with EU Treaty's ratification", replied earlier to our question EU Parliament's Press Director and Spokesman, Jaume Duch.
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Sarkozy has formally anounced his intention to open EU Debates on Economy, Identity/Enlargement (i.e. mainly Turkey), etc. both linked to a popular Political view of Europe, since his Historic speeches on EU in Strasbourg, on February and July 2007, when he stressed that "Europe needs a New Renaissance". At the beginning of the French EU Presidency, on July 2008, replying to a MEP, he suggested that EU Parliament takes an active part in Debates on EU's Future.

- Now, in 2008, "Crisis are an opportunity to re-think how to re-construct Europe", Sarkozy stressed. At any case, the Historic 1st EuroZone Summit of Heads of State/Government, which started replying to the Financial crisis,"is a Turning Point : After that, Europe cannot be governed as before, but differently" : People "like a Europe with Strong Will".

- "We must make the System move !", "Europe needs Innovation" and free political debates. EU "Elections are in a few Months", Sarkozy warned.

He invited EU Parliament to fully play its role as "the Democratic Heart of the Europe we want : United, Independent and Voluntarist, because the World needs Europe's voice".

- "It's no more possible for Euro-Zone to continue without an Economic Government" at the Highest Level of Heads of State/Government, who provide "Democratic Legitimity" and can take important decisions, he announced, strongly supported by EU Parliament's Economic Committee which just voted to boost the "Institutional" aspects of "EuroGroup".

Plasticity offered by the current absence of a special Treaty on EuroZone's Institutions "made it easy to adapt the organization of the 1st Summit with imagination, to efficiently meet urgent needs", he observed, on the occasion of Brittish Prime Minister's exceptionnal presence at the greatest part of EuroGroup's Paris Summit.

- "In EuroZone we have the same Bank, the same Money, and, thus, a same duty for Unity" : "By bringing together EuroGroup's 15 members States we suceeded to find a solution and prepare a Giant Plan of 1.800 Billion euros", Sarkozy reminded of Paris' 1st Historic EuroZone's Summit.

Afterwards, Brussels' EU Council followed the move, and USA's Paulson II Plan was inspired from that. "Europe must promote the idea of Global Economy's Refoundation", he stressed.

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- "I was frankly astonished when I found, at the EU, a rigid system, where any New Idea was seen from the outset as a sacrilege, while, on the contrary, Europe needs Innovation !", he described.

F.ex. ,"'When we first spoke about the "Union for the Mediterranean", it was misunderstood as something extraordinary.. When later we had the Russia -Georgia crisis, it seemed against EU's custom to act "in the middle of August", instead of staying a passive spectator ! And when, in front of the Financial ciris, we gathered the 1st EuroZone Summit of the "15", some thought of it as a lese-majesté", he denounced.
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On Geo-Political Principles :
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- But, by moving resolutely, "EU obtained the ...withdrawal of Occupation Troops in 2 Months !", reminded Sarkozy, observing that Russia "fulfilled its commitments", in the Georgian crisis, where a "disroportionate reaction" from Moscow followed a "totally inappropriate action" from Tbilisi's troops. "It would be crazy to reply by military means : EU should not become accomplice of another Cold War, imposed by lack of cool heads".. as he said.

In future, "the creation of a common European Economic Area with EU and Russia, would also obtain a raprochment on our Human Rights and Democratic Values", added Sarkozy, in a statement which should logically be applied, a fortiori, to controversial EU "candidate" Turkey..

Particularly when, the same week that EU Parliament voted 2009 EU Funds for Turkey's controversial EU bid, ECHR took a series of judgements condemning Turkey for grave Violations of Human Rights, such as : Torture, death of a political prisoner in unclear circumstances followed by failure to conduct a proper Investigation, "enforced Disappearance" of a youngster aged 17, Killing of a sepherd with Tank Shells, persecuting Journalists for articles on "Missing" People, even a former President of Human Rights' Association, (etc)

- "We (EU) can defend our ideas on respect of Sovereignity and territorial Integrity, on Human Rights and other differences ... without confrontation", Sarkozy stressed, on the occasion of Russian/Georgian conflict, reminding that : "we were only 2 steps from catastroph", when a Peace agreement brokered in Moscow prevented, at the last minute, Russian troops' advance towards Tbilisi.

An EU Parliament Resolution adopted Wednesday in Strasbourg on the occasion of Russia - Georgia conflict, outlines a set of Principle which apply elsewhere too, (particularly when EU Rapporteur for Russia and Turkey is one and same person ; Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijtanen !)

Clearly rejecting any "military solution to the conflicts", MEPs "condemn ..all those who resorted to force and violence". They denounce a "disproportionate military action", "as well as (an) unilateral decision to recognise the independence" of brekaway regions, "calling.. to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the concerned country, "and the inviolability of its borders recognised by all EU Member States". They warn that "EU must review its policy towards" a 3rd Country, "should .(it)...not comply with its commitments", and "stress that the withdrawal of.... troops from the areas ....is an essential additional step".

EU Parliament "calls for the safe and quick return of refugees, (accepted by Russian President Medvedev) accompanied by the deployment of EU observers on the ground", and "regrets ...that ..EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) is not allowed to enter the ...breakaway regions". Moreover, "It's important to ensure that persons and NGOs ..engaged in defending human and civil rights can operate". "Until ...all remaining issues (are) resolved..., and notably the continuing ...Military presence", "relations with the EU ..cannot be fully normalised", MEPS warned.

As nobody likes to be accused to practice "Double Standards", this should be regarded as "Principles" applicable to any Third Country at EU's Neighborhood.. No ?

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On Economy :

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- "When Financial crisis shook US and EU's Banks, without result from the 1st (American) Paulsen plan, it was the common reply of the 1st EuroZone's Summit, involving some 1800 Billion euros, which started a positive move in the markets, soon strengthened by the follow-up of the US Paulson 2 Plan, noted Sarkozy.

- "Europe should not be only on the defensive, but, if necessary, know also how to take an offensive", he said, brushing away hesitationsto act on Economy: - "I'm for a refondation of Capitaliism, but against Speculators, who betray its values" : "Lack of Rules was profitable to speculators, Not to businessmen !" We must make sure to prevent any such crisis in future". "We, the rest of the World, cannot continue to bear the deficits of the 1st World power without saying anything !", the French President said, applauded by EU Parliament. All this needs "a New Global Governance", on which EU Parliament must debate. That's why "we proposed together with USA, several Summits from mid-November", to which G-8, enlarged to China, India a.o. countries, should participate. UNO's SG; Ban Ki Moon, the IMF, etc.

Financial crisis lowered shares' prices even for healthy companies, sometimes to 1/3 of their initial price, so that strangers might buy EU industries for only a portion of their real value, and Europeans may wake up one day with their main industries sold out to foreigners !

That's one of the reasons for which EU should debate about creating "Golden Shares" for States to jointly take Strategic participations to help European Industries until the end of the Crisis, particularly against distording competition, he suggested, pointing at USA's 35 billion $ plan for American Car Industry."We shall struggle for Europe to be able to build Airplanes, Ships, Trains, Cars, because we need a strong Industry", he concluded.

"F.ex. as we did back in 2004, when as Finance Minister, we bought Alsthom's shares for 800.000 euros, and, after restructuring, we sold them for 2 Millions : Help a company and make money is not so bad"...

As for the UK, "when Ireland announced that it would guarantee only Irish Banks, London City emptied from liquidities in 24 hours : It's the EU which helped to restore the situation, Not the UK alone !", reminded Sarkozy to nationalist British MEP Nigel Farage.

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On the contrary, in a last-minute attempt for the EU to catch-up with its Institutional delay "before the European Elections" of June 2009, MEPs simply voted a call for a "set of proposals" to be made for the "Irish public opinion" at the end of the year...

- "As long as Lisbon Treaty is not ratified by all 27 EU Member States, there is an unanimous decision to stop Enlargement, reminded Wednesday in Strasbourg the French Minister for EU affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet..

Added to an indirect but clear warning that, without Lisbon Treaty, all 27 EU Member Countries may not have a Commissioner in the 2009 resuffle, MEPS in the Constitutional/Foreign affairs Committees applauded hoping that this might motivate their Irish friends..

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