Enlarge image

SPD Chancellor Olaf Scholz (center), Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (left) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (right), both FDP

Photo: Maja Hitij / Getty Images

After the vote in Brussels on the EU supply chain law on Friday morning was surprisingly postponed until next week, the Greens are putting pressure on it. The Chancellor should make use of his directive authority and Germany should agree to the supply chain law next week. It is one of the toughest measures available to the Chancellor in a coalition. The FDP has so far opposed the project.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) disappointed many, EU Green MP Rasmus Andresen told SPIEGEL. "He must make use of his authority to make directives and secure German approval." He should "not allow himself to be paraded by the Four Percent Party."

EU Green Party politician Anna Cavazzini made similarly harsh comments about the Liberals: “The Chancellor must now make use of his directive authority when it comes to the supply chain law. It is not the only EU project that the FDP is blocking in Brussels.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (both FDP) had announced that they would not agree to the supply chain law, which would have led to an abstention in Brussels. On Thursday evening and Friday morning, other countries surprisingly dropped out - such as Bulgaria and Cyprus. A majority was no longer safe. Buschmann formulated his objections in a letter, and other countries apparently followed his criticism. The SPD and the Greens are in favor of approval.

Now there will be another week of bilateral negotiations at the EU level in order to reach an agreement, according to government circles. However, it is unlikely that the FDP will be changed. She had criticized several core elements of the supply chain law - such as the possible liability for companies or the classification of the construction sector as a risk sector.

FDP open to new negotiations

The aim of the EU supply chain law is that no goods should be sold in the EU that were produced using child labor or that cause environmental damage during their production. The FDP MEP Svenja Hahn was open to further negotiations. “Improvements must now be made to create a practical supply chain law that effectively protects human rights and the environment and does not just create new bureaucracy,” she told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”.

If a coalition does not agree, the federal government can abstain from the EU Council, but this amounts to a rejection. However, the Chancellor can use his directive authority, which, according to the Federal Government's rules of procedure, is "binding" for federal ministers. Scholz made use of this in the fall of 2022 when the Greens and the FDP argued about shutting down the nuclear power plants.