|Large oil, gas, diamond and logging companies will be obliged to disclose full information about every single project whose payments to the governmental authorities exceed the threshold of 100.000 Euros. And administrative accounting burdens for small businesses will be reduced considerably.
These are the main results of a trilogue negotiation this evening between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the accounting directive. The ALDE group had been united in leading the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) to a strong Parliament mandate on chapter 9 for the conclusion that project payments will be included, deleting the criminal exemption clause and requiring the Commission to submit a report at the latest within three years considering the extension of the reporting requirements to additional industry sectors.
Alexandra THEIN (FDP, Germany), who is the group’s spokesperson on the directive, says: ”The trilogue results on chapter 9 are a huge success for ALDE. Furthermore, I welcome the breakthrough to get a ”small regime” specific to our European SME’s as I fought hard for it during the last year. It will facilitate the rules and thus reduce their administrative burden by up to 1.5 billion Euros per year. I hope and plead that the Member States take advantage of this option in order to make the life for their enterprises more easier.”
Cecilia WIKSTRÖM (Folkpartiet, Sweden), who is the ALDE coordinator in JURI, added: ”I am very pleased that we have managed to delete a major loophole in the proposal which was strongly supported by industry lobbyists and which would have exempted companies from the rules on transparency in countries where the reporting of this data would be illegal. No country in the world has such an anti-transparency law in place and the inclusion of an exemption in this directive would thus have created a bizarre incentive for countries to introduce such laws in order to circumvent this legislation. The deletion of this loophole is a major success.”
Fiona HALL (LibDems, UK), who drafted the opinion from the Development Committee and has been a key MEP for the insertion of the county-by-country and project-by-project rule, comments: ”At last we have legislation in place which requires companies to publish what they pay. This marks a major step forward in the fight against corruption. Until now, many billions of euros every year have been siphoned off into private pockets instead of being spent on vital public services such as health and education.”