EU called to act on corruption

Christian campaigners have delivered 10,000 calls to action on corruption to the European Union.

Representatives of Micah Challenge, Mission-Net, Tearfund and Exposed presented the postcards to EU decision-makers in Brussels on Wednesday.

The postcards had messages written on them from supporters across 22 member states urging the EU to pass strong laws that would force oil, gas and mining companies on the European Stock Exchanges to publish what they pay goverments for access to the natural resources.

Joel Edwards, the International Director of Micah Challenge, said: “This is a scandal of our times and EU leaders have a responsibility to ensure corruption does not blight the lives of the poor across the world.

“Some 3.5 billion people live in countries which are rich in oil, gas and mineral resources. Tragically, money from these areas often doesn’t benefit the poor communities who live nearby. EU leaders have to act now and ensure money ends up in right places.”

Many of the postcards were signed by young Christians from across Europe who attended the Mission-Net Conference in Erfurt, Germany, last December.

Evi Rodemann, Director of Mission-Net, argues that the impact of changing the law would be significant enough to meet the Millennium Development Goals, set by world leaders in 2000 to eradicate extreme poverty within a 15-year time frame.

“Christians across the world are uniting in action to shine a light on corruption. This is what these 10,000 messages symbolise," she said.

“The evidence is strong. If all payments were made public, revenue would be sufficient to meet the Millennium Development Goals and provide everyone living with HIV with vital drugs for over 30 years.”

Churches in Denmark, Germany, the UK, France, Portugal are among those supporting the campaign.

The European Parliament is currently considering legislation on financial transparency and accountability. A decision is expected in the next few months.

The campaign groups said the legislation would enable churches to hold governments to account and ensure that revenue was being spent to help achieve the MDGs.

Bishop Dr Stephen Munga, from Tanzania, who was part of the Brussels delegation, said: “Local communities should be able to hold their governments to account on these issues, which will improve their lives. That’s what this campaign is all about.”