“Sometimes great things happen when nobody’s looking.” That’s what Bono said today after sitting down with the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister and Business Minister to discuss the campaign for an EU-wide law requiring oil, gas and mining companies to publish what they pay to governments around the world. ONE is part of a coalition of over 650 civil society organisations worldwide calling for greater transparency in the sector.
European leaders are currently negotiating the details of the new law and in a statement following the meeting Nick Clegg confirmed the UK government would fight for strict rules that will best enable the world’s poorest people to benefit from their countries’ natural resources. The French Government also said yesterday it supports strong rules.
This is great news for ONE members who have been campaigning for many months on the issue. Over 160,000 European members have signed the petition calling on European leaders to deliver strong laws, and thousands sent personal messages to key MEPs to ensure they recently voted the right way on the European Parliament’s position. This follows a successful campaign by ONE members in the US to pass a similar law.
“For far too long, the world’s poorest people have seen no benefit from the vast natural resources in their own backyards.
“It is time to end the injustice where ordinary people are silent witnesses, left to suffer without basic services, as the profits from their countries’ assets are hidden and plundered by corrupt regimes.
“There need to be strict new rules about how payments to developing countries from the oil, gas and mining industries are recorded. Shining a light on where this money is actually going will help people hold their governments to account over how this money is actually spent.
“The United States Government has raised the bar by publishing tough new rules that will apply to US listed companies. The European Union must now follow suit and the Coalition Government will be pushing for those rules to be matched in Brussels.
“Millions of people in developing countries languish in poverty while their corrupt governments squander or hide large payments from foreign companies.
“Strong EU action to create a new global standard for transparency in the extractive industry can help these citizens hold their governments to account. I’m determined that the UK will play a leading role within the EU to make the most of this opportunity.”
Nick Clegg also praised ONE members for their continued efforts in the campaign. He said:
“I would like to pay tribute to ONE, to Bono’s energy and leadership and to the thousands of ONE members across the world who have campaigned tirelessly to keep this issue on the agenda.”
“Sometimes great things happen when nobody’s looking. That’s what happened today. Nick Clegg and Jo Swinson have thrown Britain’s weight behind strong EU transparency laws, at least matching the new US legislation. This legislation says – let the daylight in. Transparency is the best vaccine against corruption.”
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