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Achieving Extractive Transparency in the European Union

The European Union’s (EU) 2013 amendments of its Accounting Directive and Transparency Directive to require oil, gas, mining and forestry companies to report their payments to governments on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis were achieved after more than ten years of international advocacy and campaigning by the global Publish What You Pay (PWYP) coalition. Compared with many civil society campaigns, PWYP’s advocacy in the EU was unusually successful in resulting in legislation that embodied most, if not all, of the coalition’s key policy demands.

This case study seeks to identify the elements of the campaign that were central to its success. It draws on interviews with fourteen people who were involved, most of them closely, in PWYP’s push for mandatory extractive industry reporting in the EU. Thirteen of the interviewees worked then, or work now, for the PWYP International Secretariat, country coalitions or coalition member organisations, while one – former Member of the European Parliament Arlene McCarthy – became effectively PWYP’s champion through her work on the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee. The author of the study, who undertook the interviews, has coordinated PWYP’s UK country chapter since October 2011.

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