TAXE Report: Mandate of special committee not fulfilled
A press release of Fabio De Masi
The six GUE/NGL members of the European Parliament's Special Committee on Tax Rulings and similar measures in nature or effect (TAXE) will abstain in today's vote in the committee on the final report and deliver a minority opinion as they see the mandate of TAXE not fulfilled and call for its prolongation.
GUE/NGL was at the forefront of the TAXE investigations after the Lux Leaks revelations about sweetheart tax deals between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and multinational enterprises, pushing for a true committee of inquiry. GUE/NGL TAXE shadow rapporteur Fabio De Masi made President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker backtrack on his testimony to the committee and release a secret page of Luxembourg's Krecké report on tax policies proving that Juncker had been aware of the contentious nature of tax rulings since 1997. The substance of the TAXE report has been shaped by many amendments by GUE/NGL. Nevertheless GUE/NGL will not vote in favour of the report in today's committee vote since serious obstacles to the TAXE investigation have not been adequately addressed so far. The minority opinion of GUE/NGL states:
"GUE/NGL welcomes the substance of the TAXE report. It contains useful proposals for greater tax justice and reflects the negative impact of austerity on tax fairness. Despite our many contributions to the report's final shape, we abstain in today's vote for the following reasons:
We regret that the report does not take up the need for a full committee of inquiry or at least a prolongation of TAXE's mandate. Access to documents remained unsatisfactory with for instance 13 EU member states denying such access to information concerning the code of conduct group. Multinational corporations have ignored invitations to TAXE but no legal base for sanctions could be established yet and remaining contradictions of the President of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, during his testimony to TAXE were not followed up.
Core issues lack ambition beyond what the EU Commission has proposed already. Tax rulings should be made public and tax secrecy laws adjusted. We welcome the idea of consolidation of the tax base. However, we miss a clear commitment to broaden the tax base and we criticise the interim period before consolidation which allows for cross-border loss/profit offsetting and no further backstops to prevent tax competition between EU countries."
GUE/NGL is currently preparing a law suit at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against the EU Commission, the European Council and EU member states over access to documents. The group will announce its final decision on the TAXE report, subject to further progress on the quality of the investigations, together with information on the preparation of the law suit in a press conference ahead of the plenary vote in November.
GUE/NGL is represented in TAXE by the MEPs Fabio De Masi (Shadow Rapporteur), Miguel Viegas(Coordinator), Marisa Matias (Vice-President) and the three substitute members Dimitrios Papadimoulis (Vice-President of the European Parliament), Paloma Lopez Bermejo and Rina Ronja Kari.
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