Multinational Enterprises and Human Rights
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Multinational Enterprises and Human Rights

Obligations under EU Law and International Law

Alexandra Gatto

This well-researched book examines how the European Union could do more to ensure that EU-based multinational enterprises (MNEs) respect human rights when operating in third world countries. Alexandra Gatto identifies the primary obligations of MNEs as developed by international law, and investigates how the EU has promoted the respect of human rights obligations by the MNEs to date.
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Chapter 6: External Measures Addressed to MNEs

Alexandra Gatto


6.1 INTRODUCTION Increased interest in the adverse effects of the activities of companies within the EC has been matched by a series of initiatives which have targeted the conduct of European MNEs in relation to third countries. This chapter focuses on the external measures addressed to European MNEs. The definition of external measure captures what, at first sight, seems to be a heterogeneous set of initiatives, ranging from the Code of Conduct on Arms Export and the Code of Conduct for companies operating in South Africa, adopted under political cooperation, to the proposed Code of Conduct for European Companies Operating in Developing Countries, contained in a Resolution of the European Parliament, and the International Framework Agreement, which are agreements signed by the International trade union associations and an MNE. Although contained in different types of legal texts, these measures are all characterized by the fact that they directly address MNEs and, in particular, they target their activities in third countries. We saw in the previous chapter that the internal measures addressed to MNEs have, to some extent, progressively translated stakeholders’ needs, and in particular workers participation, into legislation. In addition, at the internal level a variety of regulatory and voluntary measures have been adopted or are currently under discussion. A similar development cannot be traced in relation to the European Union’s monitoring of European MNEs’ activities in developing countries. As shown by the examples of the Code of Conduct on Arms Export and the Code of Conduct for companies operating...

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