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EU demands transparency in natural resource deals

eu-parliament-building 400BRUSSELS: The European Parliament Tuesday voted to end secret deals between governments and large oil, gas, mining and logging firms, demanding companies disclose payments in countries where they operate.

In a move to strengthen anti-corruption legislation, the parliament's legal affairs committee agreed that oil, gas and mining companies must report what they pay to governments in countries where they work.

"Today's vote represents a real step forward in the fight against corruption," said Oxfam's Catherine Olier. "In doing this, citizens can ensure that governments collect the money owed and use it to lift them out of poverty."

An initial proposal set out by the European Commission earlier this year called for some 600 listed and non-listed firms involved in the extractive industry or in logging primary forests to disclose payments to governments in each country where they operate and for each project.

Oxfam said that in 2008, Africa's oil, gas and minerals exports were worth roughly nine times the value of international aid to the continent -- 393 billion dollars versus 44 billion dollars.

At London-based NGO Tearfund, Laura Taylor said "Europe has taken a further step towards bringing greater accountability between governments, industry and communities."


Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012



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