Prime Minister Cameron Vows to Track "Every Penny"

In an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, British Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated his support for stronger EU rules governing oil, gas and mining companies' payments to countries. Cameron writes:

Eradicating poverty[… ]means driving improvements in transparency and accountability to ensure that corrupt elites cannot waste our aid money. I want people to see exactly where every penny is going. Where it's not reaching the people who need it, we will stop it. But we in the developed world must also put our own house in order, including by tracking down and returning plundered assets, refusing visas to corrupt foreign officials and stopping bribery involving our companies. The U.S. has introduced legally binding measures to require oil, gas and mining companies to publish key financial information for each country and project they work on. And I want Europe to do the same.

Cameron’s statement comes as the European Union is in the final stages of negotiation on rules that will apply to hundreds of European and EU-listed companies, including state-owned entities not covered by U.S. regulations.

The European Commission and Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee have both endorsed a strong standard building on the U.S. example, and are now in the midst of 'trialogue' negotiations with members of the European Council to adopt a final compromise text for a plenary vote in Parliament anticipated early next year.

As the Financial Times recently reported, despite immense pressure from the oil industry council representatives, key member states have so far indicated their support for disaggregated reporting at the country and project level. As the trialogue process continues, European leaders must continue to hold the line and ensure that final European legislation is fit for purpose and free of loopholes, by pushing for an appropriately low payment reporting threshold, crafting a strong "project" definition set at the contract level, and resisting all industry calls for exemptions from reporting.

Rebecca Morse is RWI Advocacy Officer.

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