Europe cor­rup­tion fight wel­comed by Chris­tian Aid

The Church of England - - NEWS - By Tay­lor Dana Reaves

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.”

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