This is a crucial time for our campaign – a chance for citizens in oil- and mineral-rich countries to know how much money their governments are receiving in return for the exploitation of their natural resources. The European Union is currently finalising ground-breaking transparency legislation which would require extractive companies to publish what they pay to the governments where they operate. If citizens had this information they could hold their governments to account for how this money is spent, and ensure that it goes towards benefitting all citizens rather than the few. Increased transparency will also engender a more responsible and sustainable business environment. For too long, deals between energy companies and governments have been signed behind closed doors. This legislation is about getting the billions of dollars in financial flows which result from these deals out into the open. It’s about empowerment.
On 9th April 2013, the EU reached a deal on these rules. We have been busy working with Parliamentarians and EU governments to ensure strong rules. We sent member states this briefing to convince them to change their position on these crucial laws.
There are important areas in this legislation we want to highlight:
Companies say some countries have laws which won’t allow them to disclose what they pay them. We have seen no evidence to suggest this is true. Providing an exemption for companies on this basis would simply incentivize corrupt regimes to pass secrecy laws. An exemption like this would completely undermine a great piece of legislation which is aimed at putting information into the hands of those who really need it.
The EU agreed, and the current deal does not include exemptions.
This is the only way that local communities can track what they are entitled to receive from oil or mining operations in their own backyard. What’s more, an equivalent US law already requires project by project reporting. Investors will benefit from project by project reporting because they can see what payments are being made for risky projects.
Project has been defined by the legislation as linked to the legal agreement (contract or license)
The legislation sets a materiality threshold of €100,000 - companies will have to publish any payment they make at project or country level higher than this amount.