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Procedūra : 2017/2636(RSP)
Dokumenta lietošanas cikls sēdē
Dokumenta lietošanas cikls : O-000037/2017

Iesniegtie teksti :

O-000037/2017 (B8-0217/2017)

Debates :

PV 17/05/2017 - 21
CRE 17/05/2017 - 21

Balsojumi :

PV 14/06/2017 - 8.11
CRE 14/06/2017 - 8.11

Pieņemtie teksti :


Debates
Trešdiena, 2017. gada 17. maijs - Strasbūra Pārskatītā redakcija

21. Ilgtspējības pakta īstenošanas pašreizējā norise Bangladešā (debates)
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PV
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  Πρόεδρος. – Το επόμενο σημείο στην ημερήσια διάταξη είναι η προρική ερώτηση (Ο-000037/2017) προς την Επιτροπή με θέμα: Κατάσταση προόδου όσον αφορά την εφαρμογή του Συμφώνου Βιωσιμότητας στο Μπαγκλαντές ((2017/2636(RSP)) (B8-0217/2017).

 
  
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  Bernd Lange, Verfasser. – Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wir alle sind noch immer entsetzt über das, was bei dem Unfall in Rana Plaza in Bangladesch passiert ist, und vielen anderen Unfällen in Bangladesch, wo Menschen, die ja für uns Textilien produzieren, ihr Leben und ihre Unversehrtheit aufs Spiel setzen. Deswegen war es richtig und notwendig, dass wir nach dem Unglück von Rana Plaza gemeinsam gehandelt haben und den SustainablilityCompact auf den Weg gebracht haben, begleitet auch von dem Accord-Abkommen, damit sichergestellt ist, dass es Verbesserungen in den Arbeitsbedingungen in Bangladesch gibt. Morgen ist das dritte Follow-up-Treffen über den Compact und ich hoffe, das wird ein Erfolg. Aber es kann auch nur ein Erfolg sein, wenn eine klare Verabredung darüber erzielt wird, wie es weitergeht, und das ist ja auch ein Grund, warum wir heute hier sind.

Zweifelsohne hat es mit dem Compact Fortschritte gegeben. Wir haben eine Veränderung des Arbeitsgesetzes erlebt. Es sind neue Gewerkschaften gegründet worden. Ich glaube, gerade angesichts der Frage von Löhnen und Arbeitsbedingungen ist natürlich die Frage der Möglichkeiten des kollektiven Verhandelns ganz entscheidend, um Verbesserungen durchzusetzen. Wir haben eine Erhöhung des Mindestlohns erlebt, und durch den Accord auch in 1700 Fabriken Inspektionen und Verbesserungen der Sicherheit im Gebäude erreicht, auch was die Feuer-Problemstellung betrifft.

Also da haben wir Schritte erreicht. Allerdings ermahnt uns die internationale Arbeitsorganisation natürlich auch hier zu sehen, dass es da auch noch große Mängel gibt. Dankenswerterweise hat das die Kommission in einem Brief sehr deutlich formuliert. Insofern kann es meiner Ansicht auch nicht sein, dass auf der einen Seite Bangladesch die Möglichkeiten der Tarifpräferenzen der LDC sehr geschickt nutzt – die haben ja auch Wachstumsraten in letzten drei Jahren von 6,6 % –, aber auf der anderen Seite die Verpflichtungen, die ja auch durch unser GSP-System, was die Anerkennung von Arbeitnehmerrechten betrifft, nicht erfüllt. Wir haben es in der Entschließung zur Textilindustrie in der letzten Plenarsitzung noch einmal sehr deutlich formuliert, dass wir auch erwarten, dass wir hier verbindlichere Regeln schaffen können für die Einhaltung von Nachhaltigkeitskriterien oder der Sorgfaltspflicht, entsprechend den OECD guidelines, und dass sich auch unser Präferenzsystem stärker an der Frage der Einhaltung von Arbeitnehmerrechten orientiert. Auch das müssen wir nochmal reflektieren, wenn es da keinen Fortschritt gibt. Es kann nicht sein, dass wir im Rahmen von LDCs alles tolerieren. Letztendlich muss das Parlament dann auch Konsequenzen ziehen.

Insofern gibt es ein paar Problemzonen: Wie sieht es aus mit den Arbeitnehmerrechten in den Sonderexportzonen? Da gibt es jetzt zwar eine Bewegung, dass die Regierung offenbar die Gesetzgebung noch einmal überdenkt, aber da brauchen wir Klarheit, dass es keine zwei Klassen von Arbeitsrecht geben kann. Wir müssen auch die Schwierigkeiten der Registrierung von Gewerkschaften und auch die Frage der Arbeit in den Betrieben und der Anerkennung regeln. Und natürlich sind die Repressionen, die gegenüber Gewerkschaftern und anderen in Bangladesch passiert sind, nicht akzeptabel. Insofern ist unsere Frage in der Tat: Wie können wir die Implementierung verbessern? Wie können wir sicherstellen, dass die ILO-Anmerkungen umgesetzt werden? Und ich glaube auch, dass wir den Accord über Mai 2018 hinaus verlängern müssen, weil die Arbeit noch nicht getan ist. Insofern unsere Fragen an die Kommission.

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. DAVID-MARIA SASSOLI
Vicepresidente

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, honourable Members, thank you for putting this question on the agenda and thank you for your support for the Compact and your concerns for Bangladesh.

As you know, the Commission is fully committed to addressing respect for international labour standards, also in EU trade policy. We can use different instruments to do that, we have our trade and investment agreements, we have the GSP, we have specific partnerships, we have different works and we have this Compact.

I do share your concerns when it comes to labour rights and the lack of respect for them in Bangladesh. The International Labour Organization included a special paragraph on Bangladesh in its report last year on freedom of association and collective bargaining, and this is a serious warning. I also welcome that Members from this House have visited Bangladesh; the message that you passed on is very powerful and it pushes and puts the issue on the agenda. It has also created awareness, which is very important, and it is contributing to some movement by the Bangladeshi Government. I also share the goal, of course, that the Bangladeshi Government fully respect workers’ fundamental rights.

Turning to the specific questions raise here by Mr Lange and others. There have been some positive signals from Bangladesh on the labour front. They include, for instance, the Tripartite Agreement of February and the fact that the draft export processing zones law, which was not in line with the ILO Convention, has been taken back. That is a positive signal. This Tripartite Coordination Council is a platform for dialogue between social partners. It seems to have been tasked to review the whole labour law and that is also a positive signal. We should welcome this and recognise it.

At the same time, there are still questions about the prolongation of the accords mandate. There seems to be a general acceptance that we need to continue the work beyond 2018 in one form or another, but this of course is not enough. We need to have more and continuous improvement, and significant work is still needed.

What we will do tomorrow, as Mr Lange referred to, is the follow-up meeting of the High—Level Sustainability Compact Group. It will provide an opportunity to take stock of where we are and how we see future prospects. We have made it very clear to the Bangladeshi authorities that we expect them to take urgent progress on respect for labour rights. This cannot happen overnight, but there needs to be a strategy that is clear and transparent and with time bounds. This strategy needs to address freedom of association and collective bargaining. It should be a priority to have speedy and efficient trade unions registrations, as well as making sure that there is investigation and prosecutions of all acts of discrimination and violence against trade unionists. At the same time, we should foresee to revise the Bangladesh Labour Act and the law on the export processing zones in line with ILO conventions. Furthermore, the strategy should facilitate private sector investor initiatives so that they can be more involved, as in the accord.

In addition to ensuring the accord mandate and that it can be reviewed and renewed, we are also looking for ways to facilitate and to support dialogue among brands and their suppliers on responsible business conduct. We are exploring the possibility to organise technical workshops in cooperation with the OECD on garment due diligence guidance, with specific focus on purchasing practices. We will have to rely primarily on international bodies such as the ILO which are specialised in this matter to assess the actions of the Bangladeshi Government.

The Compact remains a very important framework for engaging with Bangladesh, together with the other international partners on labour rights. If sufficient progress is not registered within a reasonable timeframe, the Commission will need to see what other actions it can take. We have tools we can use such as the GSP Regulation, and as you know the GSP Regulation in fact foresees temporary withdrawal of trade preferences in case of serious and systematic violation of human and labour rights. So that is a tool that we have, but I hope that that we do not have to use it and that we will see progress in Bangladesh. I hope that the meeting tomorrow will bring some advancement, but we will have to monitor this very, very closely. Thank you for this debate, thank you for the question and thank you for your engagement on this. I think if we work together and send the same strong message then we can hopefully convey this to the Bangladeshi authorities.

 
  
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  Fernando Ruas, em nome do Grupo PPE. – Senhor Presidente, antes de mais uma palavra de apreço ao colega Karim pelo trabalho efetuado.

Este pacto de sustentabilidade foi assinado em 2013, na sequência do trágico acidente que ocorreu no Rana Plaza em abril desse mesmo ano.

Convém referir e convém não esquecer que mais de 1 100 pessoas morreram enquanto trabalhavam neste edifício e é por isso que, enquanto políticos europeus, tudo devemos fazer para que uma tragédia destas não se repita.

Nesse sentido, pareceu-me bastante oportuno este debate antes da reunião de amanhã em Dhaka, bem como a resolução que posteriormente votaremos.

Cara Comissária, gostaria de lhe pedir, e por seu intermédio a toda a Comissão, estando certo que o vão fazer, que não esmoreçam no trabalho que estão a desenvolver conjuntamente com o Governo de Bangladeche e com as organizações internacionais envolvidas.

Peço-lhe ainda que, quando se verificar algum relaxamento de cumprimento no que estiver previamente acordado, coloque mais pressão junto das autoridades competentes para que esse compromisso seja cumprido.

Julgamos que as instituições internacionais, em particular a OIT, mas também o setor privado, deverão continuar o seu trabalho na melhoria das condições gerais dos trabalhadores neste país e a verdade, e ainda bem, é que há muita gente vigilante acerca desta concretização no terreno das medidas constantes deste pacto.

É que, apesar dos progressos realizados em prol das condições gerais de trabalho, particularmente a segurança dos edifícios, factos pelos quais nos congratulamos e muito em particular o Governo de Bangladeche, consideramos que estes benefícios tangíveis que se têm verificado, como vem, aliás, reportado nas avaliações anuais efetuadas, têm que continuar e têm que ser ampliados pois, na verdade, nos últimos meses, não temos assistido a progressos significativos relativamente aos direitos dos trabalhadores.

É, pois, necessário alterar a lei do trabalho de forma a incluir expressões constantes à liberdade de associação e à contratação coletiva, constantes, aliás, das convenções da OIT.

É também necessário um Estado de Direito sério e cumpridor. Por isso, pedimos ao Governo de Bangladeche para combater a corrupção, para impedir detenções arbitrárias, e pedimos também eventuais investigações ou julgamentos imparciais por parte das suas autoridades policiais e judiciárias.

Concluo, apenas chamando a atenção para a necessidade que as leis que regulam as chamadas zonas francas industriais para exportação estejam de acordo com os padrões internacionais aceites e que todos os alegados abusos reportados contra sindicalistas sejam devidamente investigados.

 
  
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  Agnes Jongerius, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, it is now four years since the Sustainability Compact was launched and we have to face the fact that Bangladeshi labour conditions are still quite bad and in some cases, for instance on trade union rights, are even deteriorating. Fortunately, the Commission recognises this as well, and the letter sent to the Ambassador of Bangladesh in Brussels by DG EMPL, DG DEVCO and DG TRADE gave the country notice that it had until 18 May to make sufficient, substantial and meaningful progress, together with a sound and time-limited strategy on several stated labour law shortcomings. Failure to do so would result in an official DSP investigation.

It is 18 May tomorrow, and it has come to my – and your – attention that up to now the Bangladeshi Government has repealed the EPZ laws, but has made no other substantial moves whatsoever. We are of course some hours ahead of 18 May, but I would like to ask the Commission: what will happen after tomorrow when no further results follow? Are you going to repeat the suggestions in the Commission’s letter sent two months ago?

 
  
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  Sajjad Karim, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, it is always a pleasure to see

Commissioner Malmström in the Chamber. Madam Commissioner, I very much welcome the very open way in which you deal with trade matters in terms of this Parliament and the transparency that we get.

Bangladesh really is a story with two sides to it. One side is a matter for which we, as the European Union, and certainly this Parliament, can feel tremendously proud. We have played our role in helping development, making sure that some of the most disadvantaged people in Bangladeshi society today find themselves in a situation where they can earn an honest living with pride, and this is something which this House really has invested in greatly.

When one looks at the tremendous achievements that have been made, then one has to look at where we are today. It is quite clear to me that Bangladesh, the Government of Bangladesh, is either not listening, or choosing not to listen, or it is not understanding what we are saying. That is why I intend simply to pass on a very clear message today. It is not to deal with the details, as the Commission is dealing with that, but it is simply to say to Bangladesh that we do not want to see a situation where, from the clutches of victory and tremendous achievement, you deliver a negative result. We have done all that we can to make sure that the doors remain open for you. Please take that message today and react in a positive way, so that we can carry on with our journey of progress.

 
  
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  Lola Sánchez Caldentey, en nombre del Grupo GUE/NGL. – Señor presidente. Pues, efectivamente, hace cuatro años ya —cuatro— del Rana Plaza. Y las trabajadoras de Bangladés, especialmente las del sector textil, siguen viviendo una situación dramática, aunque muchos intenten pintar otra pintura. La libertad sindical, la libertad de expresión y de opinión son hoy inexistentes en Bangladés, y son numerosas las detenciones arbitrarias, extorsiones y torturas a sindicalistas, opositores y defensores de derechos humanos.

La Comisión no puede seguir siendo negligente, aunque me alegran mucho las palabras de la señora comisaria, pero debería iniciar de inmediato una investigación por la violación de convenios internacionales sobre derechos humanos y laborales. Además, observamos con preocupación cómo las iniciativas voluntarias en favor de la sostenibilidad del sector textil no funcionan, son incapaces de acabar con los abusos.

Por ello, hace solamente unas semanas más de quinientos diputados de esta Cámara exigimos a la Comisión que propusiera legislación vinculante sobre diligencia debida en las cadenas del sector textil. Pónganse en marcha ya, por favor.

 
  
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  Heidi Hautala, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, I would like to wish the Commissioner plenty of strength for the meeting tomorrow when the Commission will be discussing progress on the commitments that have been made by Bangladesh. There is a clear list of demands from the European Union.

Commissioner, would you agree that, in the event that no conceivable progress is made in the commitments and the demands, there would be the prospect that the Commission could turn to the ILO and ask for an investigation into the breaches of international labour law. At the end of the day, I think we should take this new Compact very seriously as it is an admirable effort to promote value—based supply chains. But, if the other party does not live up to expectations, I believe some conclusions must be reached.

Secondly, I would like to mention that 500 Members have indeed called for binding, mandatory measures on due diligence for international companies. I believe that we should repeat that demand because it is something that is needed in order to have a level playing field.

 
  
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  Angelo Ciocca, a nome del gruppo ENF. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, nella settimana del compleanno dell'amico Gianluca Buonanno ci tengo a utilizzare la tecnica di comunicazione di Gianluca e dico, cari colleghi, dormiente Europa, aprite gli occhi!

Aprire gli occhi è la parola d'ordine su questo tema. Sveglia, sveglia, sveglia! Basta essere al servizio degli interessi delle multinazionali, multinazionali che hanno dimostrato, con la complicità di questa Europa, di aver ucciso in Italia, ma non solo, l'eccellente settore del manifatturiero. Multinazionali che per andare a produrre in altri paesi hanno deciso di speculare su situazioni che sono sotto gli occhi di tutti, situazioni di schiavitù ma situazioni anche di sfruttamento minorile, bambini che lavorano per dodici, tredici, quattordici ore al giorno a 2 euro al giorno senza nessun tipo di protezione, di regole sul posto di lavoro, è inaccettabile.

Se l'Europa non vuole continuare a essere complice di questi "prenditori" multinazionali e non vuole essere complice di queste numerose morti sul lavoro deve, e sottolineo deve, fermare l'entrata in Europa di questi prodotti illegali. I prodotti realizzati senza rispettare le regole per il lavoratore sono prodotti illegali.

 
  
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  Adam Szejnfeld (PPE). – Panie Przewodniczący! Bardzo szkoda, że tak wielkie tragedie jak ta, która wydarzyła się Bangladeszu, doprowadzają niekiedy do zmian na rzecz przestrzegania praw człowieka, przestrzegania praw pracowniczych, w tym przede wszystkim przepisów prawa bezpieczeństwa i higieny pracy.

Na szczęście umowa zawarta między Bangladeszem a Unią Europejską, a także Stanami Zjednoczonymi i Międzynarodową Organizacją Pracy poprawiła w pewnym zakresie sytuację. Dokonano zmian w bangladeskiej ustawie o pracy z 2006 roku, przeprowadzono kontrolę w ponad 2,5 tysiąca zakładów pracy. Trzeba wiedzieć, że zamknięto 32 fabryki, zarejestrowano ponad 300 związków zawodowych, zwiększono zatrudnienie w instytucjach inspekcji pracy, ale także w służbach pożarnictwa, ochrony cywilnej czy też władz do spraw rozwoju. To są wszystko bardzo dobre, pozytywne efekty działania właśnie Unii Europejskiej, ale także efekty zawartej umowy. Co bardzo ważne, w sprawę włączyły się także same przedsiębiorstwa, a to jest fundamentalne.

Oczywiście proces naprawy nie jest zakończony. Proces naprawy trzeba kontynuować i nie będzie to łatwe. Ale trzeba też pamiętać o tym, że praca, którą dają w takich państwach jak Bangladesz przedsiębiorstwa, ratuje w tym przypadku miliony, a na świecie dziesiątki milionów ludzi. Dziesiątki milionów rodzin jest chronionych przed brakiem pracy, przed brakiem wyżywienia, przed głodem, przed ubóstwem. Dlatego musimy podejmować te ważne rozwiązania w sposób odpowiedzialny, tak aby ratować ludzi w biednych krajach i pomagać im, a zarazem nie zabijać przemysłu, który daje właśnie im szansę na życie.

 
  
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  Linda McAvan (S&D). – Mr President, I would like to thank the Commissioner for pursuing this issue. When we went to Bangladesh it was very clear that access to our market is a huge issue in Bangladesh. As the Chair of the Development Committee, of course I welcome the fact that tens of thousands of workers – particularly women – are gaining a livelihood and making their lives better because they have access to our market. But we also met trade unionists, and they told us about the difficulties they face trying to organise in the workplace, and the serious intimidation. So we welcome what you have done so far, and the letter from your services to the Ambassador in Brussels, because it is important to remind the Bangladeshi authorities that the EBA is not just a technical agreement. It is underpinned by our values, and that includes respect for rights at work.

I have got a couple of additional questions. The first is about even-handedness. This kept coming up time and time again in Bangladesh. It is in no one’s interests to withdraw trade access from Bangladesh, only to see business move to countries where conditions are equally bad or even worse than in Bangladesh. So what reassurances can you give us about the Commission’s future trade agreements with other countries, that they will be similarly tough in making sure people comply with ILO standards and other human rights obligations? Secondly, responsibility of our companies: you cannot get investment in jobs and improving people’s lives unless people get a decent price for the goods that they manufacture. We had the report voted in Parliament last month. The Commission has now adopted your new sustainable garment value chains initiative. What is really going to happen? Are you going to do more? What more is the Commission going to do now to make sure that actually fair prices can be paid for goods from Bangladesh and similar countries for their garments?

 
  
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  Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, I would also like to thank the Commissioner for her ongoing interest and commitment to the issue of the ready-made garment sector, not least in Bangladesh, and I am speaking here in my role as Chair of Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia, and we have followed the Sustainability Compact from the start. This was seen by many as a positive innovative response to the problem so brutally exposed by the Rana Plaza tragedy and indeed has been seen as a potential model for engagement with other governments, because I take the point that Linda McAvan has just made, that Bangladesh is not the only country with problems.

I think many of us would welcome the engagement of the Bangladeshi Government over the years with the Compact, but we want to see that engagement renewed and regenerated because this gives an opportunity for Bangladesh to actually be a leader in terms of sound trades union activity, good social dialogue, responsible production; just as we on our side ought to keep our side of the bargain about responsible supply chains so that we know we are not putting people’s lives at risk to clothe us.

 
  
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  Arne Lietz (S&D). – Herr Präsident! Im Rahmen einer S&D-Delegation nach Bangladesch im März konnte ich mir selbst ein Bild davon machen, dass sich die Arbeitsbedingungen in den Textil- und Schuhfabriken nur in den baulichen Standards wesentlich verbessert haben. Noch Ende 2016 wurden Gewerkschafter kurzfristig inhaftiert, und die Standards der Internationalen Arbeitsorganisation werden noch immer verletzt. Unsere S&D-Delegation hat vor Ort die Umsetzung dieser Standards gefordert und damit die Mitteilung der Kommission hier bestens ergänzt. Ich begrüße natürlich den Nachhaltigkeitspakt und bin selber auf das Ergebnis des morgigen Treffens sehr gespannt. Vor allem interessiert mich die Frage, wie die Kommission als Mitunterzeichner des Pakts weiter zu seiner Umsetzung beitragen wird.

Ich weise die Kommission erneut auf den Ende April verabschiedeten Initiativbericht des Parlaments zu den Lieferketten in der Bekleidungsbranche hin. In diesem Bericht fordert das Europäische Parlament von der Kommission einen Gesetzesvorschlag, der endlich die verbindliche Einhaltung der Sorgfaltspflichten entlang der Lieferkette festlegt. Diese Gesetzesinitiative könnte zusätzlich zum Nachhaltigkeitspakt zu besseren Arbeitsbedingungen in den produzierenden Ländern inklusive Bangladeschs beitragen.

 
  
 

Procedura "catch-the-eye"

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, έχουμε επανειλημμένα ασχοληθεί με την εργασιακή ζούγκλα που επικρατεί στο Μπαγκλαντές.Εκεί όπου εργάζονται μικρά παιδιά δέκα και δώδεκα ώρες. Εκεί όπου παραβιάζεται βάναυσα η εργασιακή νομοθεσία. Εκεί όπου έχουν καεί ζωντανοί εκατοντάδες εργαζόμενοι, στη Ράνα Πλάζα. Εκεί όπου οι ευρωπαϊκές πολυεθνικές, αφού έκλεισαν τις κλωστοϋφαντουργίες στην Ευρώπη έχτισαν εργοστάσια, όπου δουλεύουν χιλιάδες εργαζόμενοι για ένα κομμάτι ψωμί.

Δεν πρόκειται το Μπαγκλαντές να συμμορφωθεί, να είστε σίγουροι. Θα μας κοροϊδεύει και η κυβέρνηση του Μπαγκλαντές και οι πολυεθνικές. Θα παίζουν το κρυφτούλι. Μόνη λύση η απαγόρευση εισαγωγής ενδυμάτων και άλλων κλωστοϋφαντουργικών προϊόντων απ’ το Μπαγκλαντές. Λήψη μέτρων για την αναβίωση της ευρωπαϊκής κλωστοϋφαντουργίας, με παροχή ειδικού καθεστώτος για τον κλάδο αυτόν, τόσο στην Ελλάδα όσο και στις άλλες χώρες του ευρωπαϊκού Νότου.

 
  
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  Jiří Pospíšil (PPE). – Já jsem velmi pozorně poslouchal Vaši odpověď na položenou otázku, děkuji za ni. Jsem velmi rád, že se tak intenzivně chcete zasazovat za pracovní právo v Bangladéši.

EU je ochránce lidských práv a pro mne osobně jsou základní pracovní práva stejně důležitá jako právo na svobodu projevu či právo shromažďovací či jiná politická práva. Neměli bychom toto téma podceňovat. Proto je dobře, že zde na půdě Parlamentu projednáváme otázky pracovního práva v Bangladéši.

Já se přiznám, že po prostudování veškerých dokumentů jsem trochu skeptický k tomu, že by bangladéšská vláda chtěla vyslyšet iniciativu a dopisy a výzvy Komise a reagovat a opravit kolektivní individuální pracovní právo v Bangladéši. Budu vám tedy držet palce na zítřejším jednání a doufám, že pokud se po 18. květnu nic nezmění, tak že Evropská komise bude schopna razantně a jasně zasáhnout a neskončí pouze u dalších diplomatických příslibů a dalších pouhých dopisů.

 
  
 

(Fine della procedura "catch-the-eye")

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I would like to thank all Members. This is indeed an extremely important issue. I would like to thank you for your strong engagement. We share your goals and we will work as hard as possible in our engagement with the Bangladeshi Government because we of course want decent working conditions there.

As many of you have said, the Compact is actually something quite unique. It has not only raised awareness, but has engaged countries, companies and civil society, and has led to some improvements – not enough, but some improvements. European and other companies that did not really engage in this have started to engage and to work with corporate social responsibility. They are working with regard to inspections, improving rights and making sure that what they produce and then sell is sustainable.

This has led to a lot of improvement, but – as you all pointed out – it is far from enough. The Bangladeshi Government needs to do so much more. It is true that there have been a few positive signals, but not enough. There will be a meeting tomorrow. Let us be fair and listen to our Bangladeshi partners; let us see what they are planning and whether they have the strategy that we have asked for. Let us discuss this in friendship and openness with them. We have said before – and I reiterate it again – that there are measures that we can take if we see that no progress is being made, or even that the situation is deteriorating. We are ready to take them, but we cannot threaten that today, before the meeting. The meeting is tomorrow. Let us give it a chance. We have other means as well.

We have made it extremely clear to them that the four ILO recommendations, namely: to amend the Labour Act in order to bring it into compliance with ILO conventions; secondly, to ensure that the law on export processing zones allows for full freedom of association; to make sure that all acts of anti-trade union discrimination are investigated and prosecuted at a later stage; and to ensure that applications for trade union registrations are acted upon as quickly as possible and not denied unless there are really objective grounds for doing so. These are the four most urgent recommendations and we fully support ILO in their work there.

When it comes to due diligence, such as with the conflict mineral agreement that we have – which we should be extremely proud of – it is more complicated with the garment sector. We are working very closely, not only with the ILO but also on the OECD, to develop the due diligence guidelines for this sector. So the priority now, on a short—term basis, is to make them materialise and to make sure that they work in practice.

Garment supply chains are fragmented and complex. There is a lot of diversity and a number of actors all across the world, so doing this will be extremely complicated. We already have legislation on corporate social responsibility and responsible business conduct. We also have the non—financial disclosure directive for some large EU companies, which also apply to the garment sector. We are working with ILO and looking at what we can do with other partners in the region to support change, to train them, to encourage them, and to organise meetings in order to connect the different actors in the region. So technically and politically, there is outreach and engagement.

This has led to some results. We will continue to do this. I look forward, in close cooperation with you, to continue to see how we can jointly apply pressure and make sure that there is improvement for the workers, the labour organisations and, ultimately, the people. Most of them in this area are, of course, young women and girls. They still need us to be there and to continue this fight for them.

Thank you for your engagement. I am sure we will come back to this issue before very long.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Presidente. – La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà durante la tornata di giugno.

 
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