European Parliament Report on corruption in the public and private sectors: the impact on human rights in third countries

The European Parliament Report on corruption in the public and private sectors: the impact on human rights in third countries is a set of proposals for the EU and its member states with the intention of fighting corruption around the world, with a particular focus on corruption within Europe and in third countries.  The report was released by the European Parliament of the European Union on August 19th, 2013.  It aims to eradicate corruption in order to promote some of the European Union’s central values concerning democracy and human rights.

 

Goal: The goal of the Report is to encourage the EU and its member states to take action, both legislative and otherwise, to halt and further prevent corruption so that democratic values can be promoted and development can be furthered within the third countries that the EU and its member states, as well as corporations within the EU, interact with.

 

Relevant Clauses[1]

 

Coherence between internal and external policies

 

1. Believes the EU can only become a credible and influential leader in the fight against corruption if it addresses the problems of organised crime, corruption and money laundering within its own borders in an adequate manner […]

2.  Welcomes, in this regard, the renegotiation of the Savings Taxation Directive, meant effectively to end banking secrecy, considers that strengthening the regulation of, and transparency as regards, company registries and registers of trusts in all EU Member States a prerequisite for dealing with corruption […]

 

Accountability and transparency of external aid and public budgets

 

12. Calls on the Commission to propose an extension of the definition of human rights defenders in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders to include anti-corruption activists, investigative journalists and, notably, whistleblowers;

14. […] stresses the need for clearly defined and observed human rights clauses in agreement with third countries that would allow any partnership agreement to be suspended in the face of gross human rights violations;

15. Supports increased transparency of decision-making on investments of European public money […] which may have an adverse impact on human rights […]

17. Calls on bilateral and multilateral financial institutions, including the World Bank Group, IMF, regional development banks, export credit agencies and private sector banks, to require extractive companies and governments to comply with the ‘Publish What You Pay’ requirements and/or EITI standards on transparency of payments as a pre-condition for all project support;

 

Corporate Responsibility

 

35. Requests all EU enterprises to fulfil their corporate responsibility to respect human rights in line with the UN guiding Principles […]

36.  Calls for the development of more effective transparency and accountability standards for EU technology companies in connection with the export of technologies that can be used to violate human rights, to aid corruption or to act against the EU’s security interests;

38. Urges the Commission to propose legislation requiring EU companies to ensure that their purchases do not support perpetrators of corruption, conflicts and grave human rights violations, namely by carrying out checks and audits on their raw materials supply chains and publishing the findings […]

39. Re-emphasizes the need for the EU and the Member States to take appropriate measures, including under criminal law, to monitor and eventually sanction companies based on their territory which are involved in corruption in third countries […]

 

Opinion of the Committee on Development

 

                Suggestions

1. Stresses that corruption in the public and private sectors undermines democracy, governance and the rule of law and weakens state institutions, thus impairing the ability of governments to fulfil their human rights obligations, particularly with regard to the economic and social rights of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups;

2. Believes that corruption is not jut bribery of public officials but also, among other things, tax avoidance and tax evasion which, carried out under secrecy, undermine the public interest;

5. Recognises that corruption misallocates resources and is detrimental to sustained economic growth and poverty reduction, and is one of the obstacles to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals […]

17. Stresses that corruption increases inequality and breeds poverty by perpetuating tax evasion […]

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