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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

Pisac ACM
22. 05. 2018.

 coe_antitrafficking_panel_on_startegic_partnerships_eurofora_400

*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.

 

 coe_10_years_anniversary_antitrafficking_conference_eurofora_400_01

 

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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 sarko_merkel_mieux

The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.


- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".

sarko

 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.

smerkem_400

- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.


    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".
        

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