MEPs on the legal affairs committee voted today (18 September) to tighten transparency rules for energy, mining and logging companies.
Under the committee’s version of the draft, which was prepared by Arlene McCarthy, a centre-left British MEP, listed and large unlisted companies in the extractive industries will be obliged to report payments of €80,000 or more to government officials abroad. The companies will be required to indicate the individual oil, gas, mining or logging project to which the payment belongs.
Acting in line with a recent decision by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, MEPs struck out an exemption for projects in countries whose laws do not allow disclosure. The controversial exemption was part of the initial proposal from the European Commission.
“We have not given in to the pressure of industry and government lobbying for a weak transparency regime,” McCarthy said after the vote. “ We are insisting on project-by-project reporting with a low threshold of € 80,000 for payment disclosure. We refused to accept exemptions which would create large loopholes in the law.”
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She said that the new rules would allow “local communities in resource-rich countries to expose corruption and hold their governments accountable for using revenues towards development”.
MEPs and negotiators from the member states will now start talks about a compromise text.