New measures will tackle trade in conflict minerals
European Conservative and Reformist Group (ECR) MEPs have helped shape a new regulation to stop the financing of armed groups through trade in minerals.
Initial discussions pushed for a de facto embargo on high risk areas that could have forced some mines to close, throwing miners out of work. Conservative MEPs negotiated a more balanced system that will help ensure conflict minerals do not finance armed groups while protecting local miners and their families. The European Parliament has endorsed this approach today.
Emma McClarkin MEP, who as shadow rapporteur took the lead on this report for the ECR Group said: “The action we are taking aims to stop conflict minerals aiding armed groups and terrorists in high risk areas. It is important we recognise the problem and do all we can to alleviate it without overburdening companies and forcing them to pull out completely of these areas. That would be detrimental to the livelihoods of families in some of our poorest regions."
The regulation will cover 95% of all imports of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold into the EU. These elements are used for consumer electronic products, cars and in jewellery.
Ms McClarkin added: “We want consumers and businesses to be able to buy products with confidence. That's why we are taking this action to stop the trade in conflict minerals while we work alongside governments in the affected areas to find long term solutions to end the conflict".
The law will require that all importers, smelters and refiners using these minerals must perform due diligence, with a view to ensuring that the imports have not been used to finance conflicts. Finally, the measures will ensure that small companies that are importing tiny amounts of the covered minerals and metals are not burdened unnecessarily.
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The ECR was created to take the EU in a new direction, according to the principles of our founding Prague Declaration. It is the third largest group in the European Parliament with 74 MEPs from 18 EU states.