Green Talking Heads

How the EU can improve its fight against forced labour
#06

Anna Cavazzini

MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and Member of the German Greens

15December
2021
Back to home

How the EU can improve its fight against forced labour

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and member of the German Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) Anna Cavazzini. They discuss forced labour and what the European Union can do to tackle this critical issue, whilst also protecting the vulnerable people who suffer from it.

Today we launch two episodes on forced and child labour. In the first episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and member of the German Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) Anna Cavazzini. They discuss forced labour and what the European Union can do to tackle this critical issue, whilst also protecting the vulnerable people who suffer from it. In the second episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and member of Ecolo Saskia Bricmont. They discuss the pressing issue of child labour and the European Union’s concerning footprint of child labour imports, as well as what can be done to lower it without pushing children into more dangerous activities.

Forced labour

On the speech on the state of the Union, Ursula Von der Leyen announced a proposal on forced labour import ban. This announcement was very much welcome for many NGOs and specially for Green MEP Anna Cavazzini, Chair of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection and member of the Committee on International Trade. She has been in the forefront of Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament on this issue since February 2021, when she presented a discussion paper called ‘Towards an EU import ban on forced labour and modern slavery’.

The paper states that “around 25 million people are estimated to be in forced labour around the world,” and that one in five garments in the global markets comes from forced labour camps. But is forced labour? According to the 29th Forced Labour Convention of the International Labour Organisation, it refers to “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily”.

Most of this forced labour takes place in the Global South, but the European Union have enough legislative tools to contribute to its prevention. This is precisely what MEP Cavazzini’s paper examines: How can forced labour be addressed through an import bans on products related to severe human rights violations such as forced labour? And how can this EU mechanism act as a complementary measure to the EU legislation on corporate human rights and environmental due diligence? Import bans could be introduced in various ways, for example through:

  • EU foreign policy – i.e: the new EU Human Rights Sanctions mechanism
  • Amending Free Trade Agreements and other trade mechanisms
  • New Internal Market instrument
  • New instrument with a trade legal basis which would be called ‘Import ban on forced labour’

The last option, however, is the preferred one as it would allow for goods to immediately be stopped at EU borders when there is a reasonable suspicion that they are made with forced labour. The United States already has a similar instrument in place, and lessons learned from this experience has shown that this tool would allow for more transparency on where and under which conditions the products are coming from. It is by no means a hidden protectionist tool, rather it is about focusing on the lived realities of people subjected to forced labour.

The instrument would need to be carefully designed and applied, as Anna Cavazzini explains in the podcast. The mechanism would allow Customs authorities to block an import from a third country if there is an allegation (for eg. from NGOs, United Nations, journalists) of forced labour. Then, the Company would have certain amount of time (3 months approximately in the case of the US) to prove that there is no forced labour involved. It is of urgent need as many imports that are blocked in the US for alleged forced labour reasons, are deviated to EU. Canada and Austria are also in process of developing such an instrument.

However, such a huge challenge cannot be solved with just establishing a ban on forced labour imports. Many other measures should be put in place to tackle such problematic in a comprehensive manner. Diplomatic means, development aid and most importantly horizontal due diligence legislation plays a role in the fight toend forced labourr. Citizens can also play a role, for example by buying products that are labelled as fair trade. But the real responsibility lies in policymakers and companies, as Anna Cavazzini states at the end of the podcast.

Pride is protest! Solidarity with the LGBTI community of the BalkansLGBTQI+
#17

Sibylle Steffan

EGP Committee Member

Natalija Simović

Local Councillor and Board member of Don't let Belgrade d(r)own

10October
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sibylle Steffan, EGP Committee Member is in conversation with Natalija Simovic, Local Councillor and Board member of Don't let Belgrade d(r)own. They discuss the situation of the LGBTI community across Europe and the Serbian Greens' fight for same sex marriage legislation.

Tackling the ‘shadow pandemic’ of Gender Based Violence in EuropeHealth Polices
#16

Terry Reintke

Green Member of the European Parliament

13July
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Green MEP Terry Reintke. They discuss the Gender Based Violence Directive proposed by the European Commission, and how the Greens are fighting against the backlash on women's rights and gender equality in recent years.

The European Green Party’s 35th Council: Greens in power! Pt.2Health Polices
#15

Urszula Sara Zielińska

member of the Polish Parliament, co-chair of Partia Zieloni

Rui Tavares

Portuguese National MP, city councillor in Lisbon and Co-Spokesperson of LIVRE

23June
2022
Read more

In this episode, Mar Garcia, Secretary-General of the European Green Party, is in conversation with key leaders advancing Green policies in Europe. Urszula Zielińska, Co-Chair of Partia Zieloni and Member of Parliament at the Polish Parliament, speaks about the threat to rule of law in Poland and the EU's role in helping to tackle it. Rui Tavares, Member of Parliament at the Portuguese Parliament, speaks on how to bridge urgent priorities with social and ecological priorities.

The European Green Party’s 35th Council: Greens in power! Pt.1Health Polices
#14

Ricarda Lang

Co-chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Member of the German Bundestag

Virginijus Sinkevičius

European Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

Dritan Abazović

Prime Minister of Montenegro

15June
2022
Read more

In this episode, Mar Garcia, Secretary General of the European Green Party, is in conversation with key Green politicians from all over Europe who hold different responsibilities at different levels. In the first part of the episode, Mar exchanges with Ricarda Lang, Co-chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Member of the German Bundestag about how to turn a political vision into governing action; with Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries about how to implement an ambitious European Green Deal; and with Dritan Abazović, Prime Minister of Montenegro about how to build on more democratic values after decades of corruption. During these three conversations, Mar Garcia enquires about the challenges they face but also about the successes they achieved.

Green Local Councillors in ValenciaHealth Polices
#13

Sergi Campillo

City of Valencia

Claire Roumet

Director of Energy Cities

Eloi Badia

City of Barcelona

20May
2022
Read more

In this episode, Mélanie Vogel, Green Senator of France, is in conversation with Claire Roumet, Director of Energy Cities, Eloi Badia Casas, Councillor for Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition of the City Council and Vice President of Ecology of Barcelona, and Sergi Campillo, the Deputy Mayor of Valencia and General Coordinator of the Area of Urban Ecology. They discuss the energy crisis and why now is the best time to accelerate the energy transition to secure a more resilient and peaceful future.

Why the Digital Services Act is critical to uphold democracy. Pt. 2Health Polices
#12

Jan Penfrat

EDRi Senior Policy Advisor

02May
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Senior Policy Advisor at European Digital Rights (EDRi) Jan Penfrat explains how the DSA helps to shift the online ecosystem away from ad-driven centralized mega platforms, and towards a more decentralized version of the internet.

Why the Digital Services Act is critical to uphold democracy. Pt. 1Health Polices
#11

Alexandra Geese

Member of the European Parliament

29March
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Green MEP Alexandra Geese. They discuss the Digital Services Act (DSA), and how this new piece of EU legislation will regulate our digital platforms and enhance our democracies in the process.

Improving the working conditions of platform workers. Pt. 2Health Polices
#10

James Farrar

Digital Workers’ rights activist

14February
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Digital Worker Rights Activist James Farrar. They discuss his thoughts on data driven exploitation in the gig economy as a former Uber driver turned activist, and how gig companies are using ‘hidden algorithmic control’ to exert more power over workers.

Improving the working conditions of platform workers. Pt. 1Health Polices
#09

Kim van Sparrentak

Green Member of the European Parliament

04February
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Green MEP Kim van Sparrentak. They discuss platform workers and the European Commission’s new legislative proposal to improve their working conditions.

Healthcare as a common goodHealth Polices
#08

Petra de Sutter

Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Former Green MEP

10January
2022
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with the Deputy Prime minister of Belgium Petra de Sutter, former Green MEP who is also a health professional, and a person of reference on health issues within the Green family. They assess how the European Union and national governments have managed the pandemic thus far and discuss the key role of accessible vaccines to ensure a pandemic recovery for all.

How the EU can improve its fight against child labourHealth Polices
#07

Saskia Bricmont

MEP for the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament and Member of Ecolo

16December
2021
Read more

In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and member of Ecolo Saskia Bricmont. They discuss the pressing issue of child labour and the European Union’s concerning footprint of child labour imports, as well as what can be done to lower it without pushing children into more dangerous activities.

COP26 in Glasgow: A Green perspectiveHealth Polices
#05

Oras Tynkkynen

European Green Party Committee Member

Terhi Lehtonen

State Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Environment

05November
2021
Read more

Climate Campaigner Rheanna Johnston is in conversation with European Green Party Committee Member Oras Tynkkynen and Terhi Lehtonen, State Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Environment. Recorded at COP26, they discuss the climate summit negotiations, and what actions Green leaders are taking to tackle the climate crisis.

Transparency and accountability of pharmaceutical industryHealth Polices
#04

Yannis Natsis

Expert on access and affordable medicines

28October
2021
Read more

EGP Committee Member Mélanie Vogel is in conversation with Yannis Natsis, Policy Manager for the European Health Alliance. They discuss the unequal distribution of vaccines and how pharmaceutical companies thrive in secrecy, taking advantage of secret deals signed with EU member states.

Climate Activists towards COP26Health Polices
#03

Climate activists at the European Ideas Lab

Esmeralda Sofía Caro, Dhreen Baloch, Walter Ruggeri, Narmine Abou Bakari, Lena Hartog

15October
2021
Read more

Climate Campaigner Rheanna Johnson is in conversation with MAPA activists Esmeralda Sofía Caro Pieri and Dhreen Baloch, Digital Rights Campaigner Narmine Abou Bakari, and Co-Founder of the Slow Fashion Movement Lena Hartog. As COP26 approaches fast, they discuss the impact of the climate crisis on frontline communities, the throwaway culture surrounding our digital devices, and how to address pollution and overconsumption in the fashion industry.

Equitable access to medicinesHealth Polices
#02

Gaëlle Krikorian

Researcher and Activist on Public Health Issues

09October
2021
Read more

EGP Committee Member Mélanie Vogel is in conversation with Gaëlle Krikorian, a researcher and activist on public health. They discuss the fault lines of our healthcare system, and the role of patents play in the issue of unequal access to pharmaceutical goods and treatment.

Fit for ClimateFit for 2030
#01

Bas Eickhout

Member of the European Parliament - Greens/EFA

08October
2021
Read more

Climate campaigner Rheanna Johnston is in conversation with Bas Eickhout, a member GroenLinks and the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, to discuss the latest battleground in the fight against the climate crisis: the Fit-for-2030 file.