TAXE: GUE/NGL member sues European Commission over document access
A press release of Fabio De Masi
A legal study commissioned by GUE/NGL finds that the European Commission violated EU law when not disclosing documents, such as its minutes of the European Council's Codeof Conduct Group on business taxation, and by imposing restrictions on MEPs' access to documents.
The study (see document below) has been authored by the Director of the Centre of European Law and Politics at the University of Bremen (Germany), Professor Andreas Fischer-Lescano, and Nele Austermann (University of Bremen). It asserts that the Commission has not sufficiently justified the limitations and restrictions it set for MEPs of the TAXE committee requesting access to Council documents when investigating tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect that helped multinational corporations avoid paying billions of tax.
The GUE/NGL coordinator in TAXE, MEP Fabio De Masi, legally represented by Professor Fischer-Lescano, now filed a law suit against the Commission at the Court of the European Union (court of first instance). De Masi comments: "The Commission can no longer hide behind excuses on tax secrecy when withholding vast amounts of political information from elected members of parliament. This is not about privacy of individual tax payers but the systematic political backup for a tax avoidance cartel that costs taxpayers in the EU hundreds of billions of euros annually."
Miguel Viegas, GUE/NGL shadow rapporteur for TAXE continues: "This legal opinion proves GUE/NGL right who claimed since the beginning access to all documents that should have been available long ago. But it also gives us more strength to struggle for more transparency in tax administrations. Tax rulings and Country-by-Country Reports should be public as well as the registers of real owners of shell companies and some trusts, the access to which cannot be conditioned to the so called legitimate interest."