Anneliese condemned Tory and UKIP MEPs for blocking plans to prevent the trade in conflict minerals by opposing full mandatory trading rules.
However, despite losing today's vote in the European Parliament's trade committee, Labour MEPs have vowed to retable their tougher proposals before new EU rules are put to all MEPs for approval in May.
Many electrical products used by British people are likely to contain minerals from conflict zones. Armed groups are able to profit from the sale of these minerals, at the same time as their actions are condemned by governments and charities alike. Most people would be horrified to know that by buying a computer they could be helping fuel bloodshed but currently only one in five companies publish information about how they check their supply chain for conflict minerals. With both the US and China now operating mandatory schemes, there is no reason why the EU should not also enable consumers to avoid products containing conflict minerals.
The proposals for mandatory rules gained support in two European Parliamentary committees, before falling in the trade committee today as a direct result of Tory and UKIP opposition.
Anneliese said “It is hugely disappointing that Conservative and UKIP MEPs blocked these proposals, as they could have had a substantive impact in preventing the trade in minerals coming from conflict zones. Many of my constituents have written to me expressing their concern over this issue, so it is even more shameful that the Conservative and UKIP MEPs have ignored the wishes of their constituents and voted to block these important changes.”
Seb Dance MEP, who was the lead MEP on this issue for the S&D MEPs on the European Parliament's development committee, said: "After battling to achieve a comprehensive report on combating conflict minerals both in INTA and DEVE, it is truly disheartening to see the report gutted by a grand coalition of the right. Especially when you consider that the ECR group vote was led by a British MEP from the Conservative Party who made bedfellows with other MEPs such as UKIP to scupper a progressive package that would have drastically improve human rights around the world."