Diakonia - People change the world

Don't weaken proposals for transparency and accounting directives

Diakonia has, together with Eurodad, Concord and the Tax Justice Network, sent an open letter to the Swedish Minister for Trade Ewa Björling ahead of the EU Competitiveness Council meeting in Brussels 20/21 February 2012.

The proposal must remain fit for purpose

Diakonia has been actively engaged in recent EU consultations oncountry-by-country reporting on the occasion of the European Commission’s revision of the Transparency and Accounting Directives. Diakonia is concerned that the EU member states may be considering weakening these proposals in the Competitiveness Council on 20/21 February.

In our open letter to the Swedish minister, we urge her to ensure that the new proposals remain fit for purpose. We also suggest six key elements that must be secured, as a bare minimum.

Governments must provide leadership

Worldwide citizens are looking to their governments to provide leadership and ensure that businesses are accountable and properly regulated. Since the financial crisis, increasing numbers of European citizens feel the impact of unfair practices such as tax dodging, and are seeking to challenge them.

However, it is easy for both companies and governments to carry out these unethical activities in developing countries, preventing these countries from receiving a fair deal from the extraction of their natural resources.

Problems arising from a lack of financial information can be particularly acute for the extractive industries but may occur in any sector.

We support calls for improved reporting requirements to be extended to multinational companies in all economic sectors. This will improve competition while also benefiting investors and other stakeholders by providing more detailed financial information than is currently available.

Sweden should show leadership on these issues, at the European Council affirming its commitment to a more transparent and accountable society that responds to the needs of the poor.

Read the letter to Ewa Björling