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April 11, 2013

EU toughens disclosures for extractive industries

The European Commission (EC), European Parliament (EP) and the Council of the European Union have agreed to revise EU corporate reporting rules, which will toughen disclosure requirements for extractive industry companies across Europe and their subsidiaries around the world.

The EU agreement will steer the ongoing revision of Accounting Directives (78/660/ EEC and 83/349/EEC) and the Transparency Directive (2004/109/EC), which would see oil, gas and mining companies disclosing payments made to foreign governments such as their tax bills, concessions and or license fees.

Under the proposed amendments, EU-listed and large unlisted companies would have to report any payment in excess of €100,000 ($131,236), including those related to each project they operate in each country, known as project-by-project reporting. EC commissioner for internal market and services Michel Barnier said the trilateral agreement brings "a new era of transparency to an industry which is far too often shrouded in secrecy".

The new EU rules will also apply the same disclosure requirements to forestry industries just as US regulators did when implementing transparency rules on the back of the Dodd-Frank Act last year. But the door will also be left open for the EC to extend its requirements to other sectors such as the banking, telecoms or construction in the future, as had been called for previously.

The EU deal has also discarded the dubbed ‘tyrants-veto’ exemption, a clause proposed by some oil companies that would have introduced an exception to report on payments made to governments in countries where such disclosures are ruled out or even constitute a criminal offence under national laws.

The amendments are expected to be adopted by the EP and Council in June 2014. This leaves a period of two years for EU member states to implement the amended directives into national law once they are published in the EU’s official journal.

Related articlesEC to propose mandatory non-financial reportingSEC tightens disclosure requirements for energy companies

Related linksEuropean CommissionEuropean ParliamentCouncil of the European Union

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