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ONE hails deal on EU oil sector transparency rules

The ONE Campaign warmly welcomes a political deal reached this evening on new European rules requiring oil, gas, mining and forestry companies to declare the payments they make to foreign governments.  If formally approved by EU Member States and the European Parliament, the move would bring Europe in line with a similar U.S. law passed in 2010 and shift the world closer to a global, legally binding transparency standard.

Under the deal reached today companies will have to report payments made to foreign governments over €100,000 on a project-by-project basis.  An exemption for countries that might prohibit disclosure, the so-called ‘tyrants’ veto’, has been struck out.

In 2010, exports of oil and minerals from Africa were worth seven times the value of international aid to the continent.  Despite this, many African countries remain trapped in poverty and do not benefit from their natural resources because of secrecy and corruption surrounding the deals and payments.

Bono, co-founder of ONE said:

“Europe’s leaders have stepped up and delivered a gamechanging breakthrough tonight. Transparency is one of the best vaccines against corruption, and now citizens the world over will know what their country’s resources are really worth. I’m delighted for the activists that have campaigned so hard for this to happen and applaud the bravery of politicians who stood up to fierce lobbying and got the deal done”

Eloise Todd, Brussels Director of ONE said:

“Today’s agreement is a major step forward in the fight against corruption.  This law will shine a light on the often murky world of oil, gas and mining deals in Africa, helping ordinary people see where the money paid for their countries’ natural resources is really going and potentially lifting millions out of extreme poverty.

“Many people in Brussels and across Europe have worked hard for over two years to make this breakthrough happen.  MEPs Arlene McCarthy and Klaus-Heiner Lehne were instrumental in rallying the European Parliament around a strong law after Commissioner Barnier and President Barroso championed EU transparency rules back in 2011.  The Irish Presidency has also been key to moving the debate forward and getting the deal done.

“But it’s not over yet; with five of the G8 countries now on board in the battle for transparency in the extractives sector, the G8 summit in Lough Erne in June is an opportunity for Europe to continue to lead by urging Canada, Japan and Russia to join the fight and help make this a truly global endeavour.”

The agreement reached today is based on rules first proposed by the European Commission in November 2011.

Negotiators from the European Parliament, Commission and Member States have been in so-called ‘trilogue’ negotiations since October last year to hammer out a final deal.  The new laws could be formally adopted by EU member states and the European Parliament by the end of June.

Notes to editors:

ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organisation backed by more than 3 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information please visit www.ONE.org

ONE is part of the Publish What You Pay coalition of over 650 civil society organisations worldwide calling for greater transparency in oil, gas and mining. www.publishwhatyoupay.org

For further information or to arrange an interview with Eloise Todd please contact Dudley Curtis on +32 485 379945 or [email protected].