EU Commission must stop treating SMEs with contempt

Small Businesses and Industry

“The European Commission has a lot to answer for when it comes to the new EU rules about sustainability due diligence obligations to be imposed on European companies”, said MEPs Axel Voss and Angelika Niebler.

Today, MEPs from the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy will grill Commission representatives on their failure to take into consideration two negative opinions by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB), assessing the legal proposal on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD).

The RSB provides central quality control and support for European Commission impact assessments, which are crucial to avoid excessive bureaucracy.

“The two negative opinions of the Board on the CSDDD clearly demonstrate that European companies will be heavily affected by this Directive due to the huge bureaucratic burden and the broad scope of the Directive. We therefore ask the Commission to set out the reasons for proposing the CSDDD on 23 February without taking due account of the findings in the opinion of the RSB. Proportionality and legal certainty must always prevail, now more than ever, when companies, and particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, face additional heavy burdens through skyrocketing energy bills and inflation. We will insist on getting a clear answer from the Commission", said Niebler.

The CSDDD requires companies to assess human rights and environmental violations in their value chains.

“While taking responsibility for social implications is key, we must avoid legislation that leads to pure bureaucracy without achieving anything on the ground. The Commission’s proposal risks affecting, indirectly, every company in the EU. There is no valid reason for small and medium-sized enterprises to go through a heavy bureaucratic process which, in many situations, is completely unnecessary", concluded Voss.

Today’s debate on the impact of the proposal on corporate sustainability due diligence will be live streamed from 10.00-12.30 hrs here.

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