Yesterday ONE met with Business Minister Jo Swinson to deliver a petition of 161,918 people calling on the Prime Minister and other European leaders to pass strong laws that will help citizens spot corruption and ensure the money paid to governments is used to lift millions of people out of poverty.
The European Committee of Permanent Representatives is meeting to discuss this issue today ahead of formal ‘trialogue’ negotiations between member states and the European Union beginning next month.
Earlier this month, following a meeting with ONE’s co-founder Bono, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged his support for the legislation and urged the European Union to match the tough rules set in the US by the Securities and Exchange Commission in August.
Business Minister, Jo Swinson said:
“We have a unique opportunity to introduce changes that will help combat corruption in the world’s resource-rich countries, boosting economic growth and improving the lives of millions of people. I passionately support EU action to dramatically increase transparency in the payments that extractives companies make to foreign governments, and I will be pushing the EU to adopt a reporting regime that reflects the new rules agreed in the USA.
“The UK Government is working constructively with industry, the NGOs, and with others across Europe to secure agreement on a progressive, robust and workable package. This is an active debate, but we are optimistic that we can achieve the best possible outcome. Europe is close to a historic first step in lifting the lid on financial mismanagement in developing countries, and I want to make sure we take it.”
Adrian Lovett, ONE’s Europe Director, said:
“For African countries this law could be transformative. In the 20 most resource rich African countries, extractive revenues in 2010 were five times larger than aid flows. Africa is has great natural resources, and this law will allow its people to follow the money and help them pull themselves out of poverty.
“We welcome Jo Swinson’s strong support for a European transparency law that really works for citizens in developing countries.
“It is important that this involves project level reporting, a strong definition of project and the removal of anything that could incentivise secrecy laws in autocratic countries. We urge the UK to work with allies in Europe to win support for a law that at least matches the US version.”