Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Country by country reporting: a short European update

From Catherine Olier, Oxfam, an update on the EU developments around country by country reporting for all sectors. The lobbyists have been out in force, and our campaigning has met heavy resistance. A key reference is the EU parliamentary report. This report is a bit wonkish, but still worth mentioning.
In the European Parliament:
  • The legal affairs (JURI) committee just voted on the report from MEP Baldassarre and amendments around full CBCR for all sectors were rejected (often with a very tight vote 13/10 and 12/12).
  • However, there is a review clause, considering public CBCR in the future. Indeed, the committee adopted amendment 40 from the rapporteur saying "The report shall consider the introduction of an obligation for large undertakings and all public-interest entities to publicly disclose, on an annual basis, a country-by-country report for each Member State and third country in which they operate, containing information on, as a minimum, profits made, taxes paid on profits and public subsidies received."
  • The report was adopted by the committee with 21 in favour, 2 abstentions (Greens) and 1 against (GUE)
  • This means CBCR is part of the MEPs' mandate for negotiations with the Council but at best in a review clause calling to adopt it in the future.  
In the Council of Member States:
  • EU Member States had a meeting on Friday 13th of December to finalise their position on the non-financial reporting proposal.
  • The Lithuanian Presidency proposed to include CBCR in a strong review clause "The Commission shall report on the modalities to introduce an obligation for large undertakings and groups to publicly disclose, on an annual basis, a country by country report including information on taxes paid in each Member State and third country. The report shall be based on a consultation of relevant stakeholders and shall take into account the international developments and the results of related European initiatives. . . The report shall be submitted to the European Parliament and to the Council, together with a legislative proposal, if appropriate". 
  • At the meeting, there were probably enough countries opposing this (especially UK, DE and PL) to get a blocking minority but everyone understood that the Lithuanian Presidency validated a strong review clause, because a majority of countries supported it (FR, BE, DK, SE, FI, IT, NL...)
  • However, later on, the Lithuanian Presidency informed other Member States that actually there was some confusion at the meeting but the agreement was that the review clause was NOT included in the final Council position. Without providing further explanations.
  • This means there is no reference at all to CBCR in the Council mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament.
There is clearly still much to fight for.

See also:

Amendments tabled (not all have been adopted)

Update from the Lithuanian Presidency on their mandate (but not mentioning CBCR):

A recent media article.

TJN's CbC reporting page.


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