The provisional deal reached by European negotiators on Tuesday evening will ensure that citizens around the world are better able to hold their governments to account for the exploitation of their country’s natural resources.
“The oil, gas and mining sectors can bring great wealth to countries if they are managed well”, said Marinke van Riet, Publish What You Pay International Director. “Unfortunately, revenues from the sector have too often been squandered through corruption or mismanagement.”
The new legislation, which must now be formally agreed by member states and the European Parliament over the next few weeks, is contained within the revised European Accounting and Transparency Directives. All EU-listed or large privately owned oil, gas, mining and logging companies will be required to publish all payments over €100,000 to every country where they operate and for each extractive project.
The United States has already passed legislation through a provision in its 2010 Dodd-Frank Act which requires all oil, gas and mining companies listed on US stock exchanges to publish their payments to all countries and for every project without exception.
Crucially, the EU rules will not contain any exemptions. A number of oil companies had claimed that there were countries which forbid the disclosure of payments to governments in their criminal law. However, EU lawmakers were not persuaded by any of the examples put forward by the industry.
“Today’s EU agreement is the culmination of years of work by the Publish What You Pay coalition. It shows what collaboration can achieve and we’d like to thank our members worldwide for their commitment,” said Ms Van Riet. “We also salute the lawmakers in all EU institutions who held out for the strongest deal possible.”
The agreement comes at an important time. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has made globalising these laws beyond the US and Europe a key pillar of his G8 chairmanship this year.
“We now look to strong implementation of the legislation in the EU and for similar rules to be adopted in other jurisdictions around the world including Canada and Australia, as well as emerging markets in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa”, said Ms Van Riet.