European Union to take measures against child labour

The European Union is to introduce a package of measures to eliminate child labour. This was decided by the European Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Luxembourg today, in response to an initiative by the Netherlands.

‘There are still 215 million child labourers in the world today, so these measures are badly needed,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen. 'I am glad that the EU is not only giving its political support to efforts to eliminate child labour, but has also decided on a broad package of tangible measures.’

For example, the EU will take a more critical look at trade concessions for countries where child labour occurs. This will mean, for instance, that cotton from countries where children work as pickers cannot be marketed at favourable rates in Europe.

The EU also plans to urge companies to operate without using child labour. This means that methods will have to be developed to inform consumers that products are child labour free.

At the request of the Netherlands, the European Commission will explore how more wide-reaching trade measures can be introduced to combat the worst forms of child labour. It will present its findings before the end of 2011.