EU zwingt Rohstoff-Konzerne zu mehr Transparenz

von hedingenhandelt

Die Europäische Union geht weiter als die Schweiz: Künftig sollen Zahlungen bei Rohstoffgeschäften veröffentlicht werden. Die EU will so Korruption und Ausbeutung bekämpfen.

EU will stärkere Kontrollen beim Rohstoff-Handel: Arbeiter in einer Goldmine Ugandas. (Archivbild)

EU will stärkere Kontrollen beim Rohstoff-Handel: Arbeiter in einer Goldmine Ugandas. (Archivbild)
Bild: Reuters

Die EU will dubiosen Rohstoffgeschäften in Afrika und Asien einen Riegel vorschieben. Künftig sollen europäische Firmen, die Öl, Gas, Edelmetalle und Holz abbauen, ihre Zahlungen an Regierungen veröffentlichen müssen.

Dazu gehören etwa Steuern, Lizenzgebühren oder Gebühren für Genehmigungsverfahren. Auf entsprechende Vorgaben haben sich Vertreter von EU-Kommission, Europaparlament und EU-Regierungen am Dienstagabend in Brüssel geeinigt.

Korruption bekämpfen

Mit der Publikationspflicht will die EU Korruption – insbesondere in Drittweltländern – verhindern. In den USA sind ähnliche Regeln seit August 2012 rechtlich verankert.

Konkret sehen die Regeln vor, dass Firmen, die Rohstoffe oder Holz abbauen, ihre Zahlungen an Regierungen detailliert pro Land und pro Projekt offenlegen, etwa in ihrem Geschäftsbericht. Das soll sowohl für Firmen gelten, die ihren Hauptsitz in Europa haben, als auch für Nicht-EU-Unternehmen, die an einer europäischen Börse gelistet sind. Die Schwelle für die Berichtspflicht liegt bei 100’000 Euro.

Keine «Tyrannenklausel»

Ein ursprünglich geplante Ausnahmeregelung, wonach Firmen von der Transparenzpflicht befreit sind, wenn sie in autoritär beherrschten Ländern operieren, wo eine Offenlegung der Zahlungen gesetzlich verboten ist, wurde wieder gestrichen. Diese «Tyrannenklausel» war vor allem von der Energiebranche gefordert worden, weil sie schlechte Geschäfte in Afrika oder Asien befürchtet.

EU-Binnenmarktkommissar Michel Barnier begrüsste die Einigung innerhalb der EU: «Dies ist ein wichtiger Schritt, um unser Ziel von verantwortungsvolleren Geschäften zu erreichen.» EU-Parlament und Rat müssen den Kompromiss noch offiziell absegnen. Nach Inkrafttreten haben die EU-Staaten 24 Monate Zeit, um die Vorgaben in nationales Recht umzusetzen.

(Quelle: http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/ausland/europa/EU-zwingt-RohstoffKonzerne-zu-mehr-Transparenz/story/28840893)

 

Siehe auch:

EU to agree transparency rules for oil and mining firms

By Benjamin Fox

BRUSSELS – EU officials will meet Tuesday evening (9 April) for what are expected to be the final talks on radical new rules cracking down on corruption between extractive companies and third world governments.

Under the deal brokered between MEPs and ministers on the Accounting and Transparency directives, all large publicly listed and non-listed extractive companies would be required to declare all payments to and from governments over €100,000 on a country-by-country basis.

The payments, which will also cover a range of payments in kind such as preferential tax rates and the free use of buildings, would have to be published for each individual project.

Under the final compromise text, “projects“ are defined as „operational activities that are governed by a single contract, license, lease, concession or similar legal agreements and form the basis for payment liabilities with a government.“

The project definition is regarded as a victory for MEPs – documents seen by this website indicate that the French and UK governments attempted to water down the definition of a project at various stages in the negotiations.

The actions of multi-nationals in the extractive and logging industries are an emotionally charged issue.

EU lawmakers emphasised the need to put an end to the so-called „resource curse“ – whereby countries have remained poor despite being rich in natural and mineral resources due, in part, to high-level corruption.

The negotiations have also seen a concerted lobbying campaign by extractive and oil companies to water down the effects of legislation.

Lawmakers also rejected proposals seeking to exempt companies from reporting requirements if disclosure of the material involves breaking the criminal law in the host country.

The „criminal exemptions“ amendment, which was pushed in Council by a handful of countries led by Italy, Spain and Hungary, was widely seen by transparency campaigners as a loophole that could be used by companies and governments to avoid disclosure.

But a Council source told EUobserver that „no evidence has materialised that there are any examples of criminal exemption laws“ in any extractive host country they looked at.

British Labour MEP Arlene McCarthy, who has led the parliament’s negotiating team on the bills together with legal affairs committee chairman Klaus Hehne-Lehne, a German centre-right deputy, told this website that industry lobbyists had „failed to make a convincing case“ for the exemptions.

„It’s unclear why they have been seeking to water down rules for a robust reporting system and for exemptions when industry has failed to provide evidence of countries where such disclosure is a criminal offence or illegal,“ she added.

That said, governments are expected to block a proposal supported by MEPs to extend the scope of the legislation to cover the communications sector and construction.

Meanwhile, the European Commission will also be expected to review the new regime by 2016.

Although the Irish presidency is confident that an overall deal will be struck, unanimous agreement among member states is unlikely.

A Council source indicated that at least one country plans to oppose the deal over the removal of the criminal exemptions clause, while others are unhappy with the proposed revisions to accounting rules.

(Quelle: http://euobserver.com/news/119744)

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