The Rapporteur of the EP states “Due diligence” proposal needs a rethink

Lara Wolters (S&D), MEP rapporteur on the file, considers that the Commission’s proposal for a directive on “Corporate sustainability due diligence” needs a “rethink”, adding that “the due diligence process needs to be a proactive process that requires EU companies to take a real and a thorough interest in their value chains.” When addressing MEPs last week, Wolters stressed that there should be a “whole value chain approach,” which entails applying rules beyond the first tiers of productions.The proposal for a directive, presented by the Commission in late February, would require large companies that are either based in Member States or have a considerable turnover in the EU to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights and environmental harm throughout their value chains. In recent months, activists have been calling for stronger requirements for human rights and environmental corporate accountability throughout value chains and in the EU Council, diplomats are currently discussing a compromise text.



Extraordinary Energy Council: “Whatever it takes” to help citizens and businesses facing high energy prices

On Friday 9th September, the EU energy ministers gathered in Brussels for an extraordinary meeting on the energy situation in the EU .
The ministers agreed on guidelines to frame the European Commission’s future proposals to mitigate the impact of soaring energy prices on households and businesses without ruling out any of the options presented by the Commission.

Ministers invited the Commission, by mid-September, to:

  1. propose measures to cap the revenues of infra-marginal electricity producers with low production costs;
  2. propose emergency and temporary interventions, including gas price caps;
  3. present a proposal to encourage a coordinated reduction in electricity demand across the EU;
  4. introduce a solidarity contribution from fossil fuel companies;
  5. develop emergency liquidity instruments.

On the second point, the Czech Presidency summary mentions the possibility of “a price cap on imported gas from specific jurisdictions”. According to Czechia, there is a “prevailing view” among Member States in favour of a cap as an emergency measure.

Regarding the possibility of legislation on electricity demand reduction, the Member States reportedly support the idea of an indicative rather than a binding target. It is also said that there is a broad agreement on the idea of designing emergency liquidity instruments to deal with the increased volatility of futures markets.

High energy prices are currently particularly impacting producers of building and construction materials and craftsmen. According to Czechia’s Minister for Industry and Trade, Jozef Sikela, the EU “will do whatever it takes to help our citizens and companies who are facing high energy prices”.

Future EU soil health directive: Public consultation open until 24th October

The European Commission is currently consulting interested stakeholders on its plans to present a legislative proposal on soil health by 2023. The plans are based on the 2021 “EU Soil Strategy for 2030”, which contained the vision to have all soils in healthy condition by 2050 and to make protection, sustainable use and restoration of soils the norm. The public consultation opened on 1st August and will close on 24th October.The main sectoral drivers of soil degradation in the EU are – according to the Commission – land-use change, urban sprawl, excessive and uncompensated spatial development and construction, climate change, drought, extreme weather, unsustainable soil management and intensification of agricultural and forestry practices, industrial activities and emissions, unsustainable waste management and energy production, accidents and spills, improper water management, reuse and irrigation, as well as overexploitation, unmitigated and uncompensated consumption of natural resources.

The proposal for a directive could contain provisions on indicators for soil health and their range of values; requirements for the sustainable use of soil so that its capacity to deliver ecosystem services is not hampered; or provisions on monitoring and reporting on the condition of soil.


Leave feedback to your cross-border obstacles!

The European Commission is running an online tool under the “Your Europe” portal, dedicated to reporting of the obstacles encountered by companies when doing business across borders.
It is an easy-to-use online tool (“Leave us feedback on your obstacle”) with drop-down menus to flag the issue.
With this awareness raising exercise, the Commission aims at building up its evidence base.