(Source: European Commission)
Today, the Commission decided to register a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) entitled ‘Good Clothes, Fair Pay’.
The initiative calls on the Commission to propose legislation requiring companies in the garment and footwear sector to carry out due diligence in respect of living wages in their supply chains. The organisers list six objectives of such a due diligence exercise, including: identifying, preventing and mitigating adverse impacts on human rights; reducing poverty in the EU and worldwide, with particular attention to the circumstances of women, migrants and workers with precarious contracts and the need to combat child labour; prohibiting unfair trading practices; providing a right to information for consumers; and improving transparency and accountability of undertakings in the garment and footwear sector.
As this European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) fulfils the formal conditions, the Commission considers that it is legally admissible. The Commission has not analysed the substance of the proposal at this stage.
Following today’s registration, the organisers have 6 months to open the signature collection. If a European Citizens’ Initiative receives one million support within one year from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react. The Commission could decide to take the request forward or not, and will be required to explain its reasoning.
The European Citizens’ Initiative was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens. It was officially launched in April 2012. Once formally registered, a European Citizens’ Initiative allows 1 million citizens from at least seven EU Member States to invite the European Commission to propose legal acts in areas where it has the power to act. The conditions for admissibility are: (1) the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, (2) it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious and (3) it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union.
Since the beginning of the ECI, the Commission has received 114 requests to launch a European Citizens’ Initiative, 90 of which were admissible and thus qualified to be registered.