Written question – Textile industry in Europe and environmental protection – E-008120/2016

The textile industry has been consistently diminishing in Europe for more than 20 years. In 2015, imports to the European Union of textiles and clothes increased by 11% to the benefit of South East Asian countries, as indicated by Euratex, a European textile confederation.

This poor dynamic, that can be observed from the point of view of employment and the Union’s trade balance, also has its ecological corollary. The obsolescence of poor quality clothes is very quick, while the pollution caused is considerable: the textile industry is the second biggest cause of water pollution in the world, and the cultivation of cotton demands more pesticides than any other crop.

Moreover, 70 million trees are cut down each year for the production of artificial silk, and polyester, the basis of a large number of clothes, decomposes over several hundreds of years. Would the Union therefore have an interest in promoting a large re-industrialisation in its Member States, defending the criteria of quality and sustainability?

Does the Commission wish to establish criteria for importing clothes into Europe, based on the sustainability and quality of the products?

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