In a major development in the effort to promote the responsible use of resource-related revenues, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to spearhead efforts to pass legislation at the European Union requiring oil, gas, and mining companies registered in Europe, to disclose their resource-related payments to governments. Responding to a call from U2’s Bono and inspired by similar U.S. legislation passed in 2010 that will require U.S. registered companies in the sector to disclose their payments to governments on an annual and project-by-project basis, Sarkozy stated his intention to organize a meeting on the issue at the G8 and G20 meetings in Paris in March, and pledged to ask the EU to “adopt as quickly as possible legislation forcing companies in the extractive sector to publish what they pay to host countries.”

Sarkozy’s statement should be commended and adds to momentum that is clearly building towards more transparency and accountability in this secretive and oft criticized sector. Just this past December in South Korea, similar legislation was also introduced in the National Assembly that would increase transparency of payments made by Korean resource extractive companies.