The UK Prime Minister's commitment to early implementation of new European transparency laws that require oil, gas, mining and timber companies to report the payments they make to governments has inspired similar commitments from other Northern European countries.
Global Witness welcomes a statement from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, announcing their intention to "quickly transpose the EU Accounting and Transparency Directive". The statement was made as part of a broader set of agreements with the United States government on development, human rights, climate change and other issues.
The Accounting Directive came into effect on 19 July 2013. European Union Member States have a maximum of two years to implement, although a growing group of countries, led by the UK, have committed to early implementation in order to maintain momentum in the creation of a global standard. The EU legislation requires full public reporting of payments made to governments on a project-by-project basis and allows for no exemptions.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron made extractive transparency a priority in his hosting of the G8 meeting in June, at which EU G8 members committed to quick implementation of the EU directive which match standards established by US legislation.
At the G8, the UK Government stressed the importance of adopting and swiftly implementing national and regional regulatory frameworks to ensure transparency for each country and for each project.
Mr Cameron stated at the summit, "The G8 must move toward a global common standard for resource-extracting companies to report all payments to governments ... we must all work harder to secure and fully implement the new standard that will see oil, gas and mining companies reporting project-by-project payments across the world without exception."
The G8 communiqué encouraged other countries to "implement equivalent mandatory reporting rules with a view to creating an international reporting regime that avoids duplicate reporting burdens on business."
The joint statement between the Nordic countries and the US, published by the White House, can be found here: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, September 04, 2013, Joint Statement by Kingdom of Denmark, Republic of Finland, Republic of Iceland, Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of Sweden, and the United States of America
The G8 communiqué can be found here: Lough Erne 2013 G8 Leaders Communiqué
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