Europe corruption fight welcomed by Christian Aid
CHRISTIAN AID welcomes Europe’s plan to fight corruption, as it forces some in the mining, gas, oil and logging businesses to admit their illegal payoffs of government officials around the world.
As their attempts to find loopholes around the benefits of the anti-corruption reforms began to increase, Europe found it time to take necessary action. The European Parliament and council have come to a recent agreement that campaigners, journalists and other citizens will be provided with the information they need to hold their governments accountable for the money they get from companies exploiting their countries’ natural resources.
These new rules, however, will not help reveal whether companies are paying the right amount of taxes, even while this multinational tax dodging is draining billions from countries worldwide.
Joseph Stead, Christian Aid’s Senior Economic Justice Advisor said: ‘These Directives also presented the opportunity to push the envelope on corporate transparency with stronger provisions to tackle tax evasion and avoidance, which currently drains billions of dollars out of developing countries.”
Stead added: “Unfortunately the UK did not back these measures in the negotiations. This was a missed opportunity.”
Thus, Christian Aid believes that the UK’s failure to push for stronger EU rules from the start leaves question as to whether they will use their power as G8 chair this year to push for a new international convention on tax transparency that is currently aiding tax dodgers, bribe-takers, and money launders around the world.
The European Parliament had called for the new rules to require companies to reveal considerably more information, including data on production, turnover, profits and their number of employees. However, this was rejected by Member States. There was also a call for the new r ules to be extended to other sectors, especially banking, telecommunications and construction, yet this call was rejected by member states as well.
In a speech this year, the Prime Minister David Cameron said: “If there are difficult questions about whether existing standards are tough enough to tackle avoidance, we need to ask them.”
His Cabinet colleagues, including the Chancellor, have backed calls for strong international action to tackle tax dodging, while the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has voiced his support for full country-by country reporting.
Mr Stead finished: “People at the very top of Government have stated their intention to do this but the time for talking is over. It’s time for doing.”