Headframe for resource extraction; Source: Fotolia.com/luchshen Enlarge

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On 22 December 2015, the Federal Government filed its application for membership of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) with the International EITI Board in Oslo. EITI is an international initiative for greater transparency in the extractive industries. More specifically, it wants to disclose revenue flows between governments and companies. Furthermore, EITI wants to encourage public debate about the commodities sector. Once Germany has been accepted as a candidate, it will become the 50th country to implement the EITI standard.

Over the past 9 months, a multi-stakeholder group made up of representatives of industry, civil society and the public sector prepared Germany's candidacy. Objectives were agreed and a work plan for implementation of the standard in Germany drawn up.

Uwe Beckmeyer, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Germany's Special Representative for EITI with responsibility for implementation in Germany, said: "Germany is one of the most important importers of industrial commodities. Because of this, we have a special responsibility towards the people in the countries where these commodities are extracted, and towards their environment. At the same time, we are among the countries that apply the highest standards when extracting raw materials at home. We should therefore aim to fully implement the EITI standard and encourage other countries to join as well. By filing this application we have now taken a major step towards reaching this objective. So far, Germany has already been lending its political and financial support to this initiative for greater transparency, which was launched in 2003. Beyond the membership process itself, the fruitful dialogue taking place in the multi-stakeholder group benefits the extractive industries in Germany.

Once the EITI Board has accepted the application for candidacy, the candidate country has 18 months to submit its first EITI report. In these annual reports, countries disclose their revenue from the extractive industries as well as the major payments made by companies in this sector to the government. Furthermore, the report will provide additional information on Germany's extractive industries.

Thirty months after the application for candidate status has been accepted, the EITI Board will decide whether Germany can become a full member of EITI. In addition to emerging economies and developing countries that have strong extractive industries, other industrialised countries have also filed applications for membership in the recent past. The US and the UK were both granted candidate status in 2014; France, Italy and the Netherlands are currently considering whether they want to join the EITI.