European Parliament to stand firm on transparency

Yesterday Arlene McCarthy MEP wrote a response in the Financial Times to an article from Monday 4th June titled “EU’s efforts to cut red tape meet impasse”, on the EU’s draft transparency laws for the oil, gas and mining industries. Right now, the European institutions are negotiating these laws that would require extractive companies to publish the payments they make to governments around the world. These secret payments currently risk fuelling corruption and prevent citizens from ensuring the money is used for vital services. Shining a light on the financial flows would allow citizens to hold their governments to account.

Monday’s article suggested the European Parliament is ‘blocking’ the finalisation of EU transparency laws “because of objections to member states backing softer disclosure rule for oil and mining groups.” In her response, McCarthy countered that the Parliament is not blocking the process, and would be willing to come to agreement with the EU’s governments quickly, but only if crucial guarantees are in place within the law – including project-by-project reporting – which, McCarthy pointed out, is already successfully carried out in Zambia as part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Some extractive companies are trying to water down these laws by suggesting a weaker version of the European Commission’s initial proposal. Thankfully MEPs like Arlene McCarthy are taking a stand against corruption. “We are happy to begin informal negotiations with a view to achieving a positive outcome” wrote McCarthy, who is rapporteur on the Transparency Directive for the Legal Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. But “we do not wish to compromise on transparency”, she added.

ONE will be working with MEPs from across the EU to make sure the European Parliament’s position delivers a final transparency law that gives citizens in some of the poorest countries in the world the information they really need to make the most of their natural resources.

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