Code of Conduct group: Finance Ministers must end blockade of tax justice
A press release of Fabio De Masi
The British newspaper The Guardian published additional research on the cables of the German government containing detailed reports of the high level Code of Conduct group on business taxation. The group is supposed to tackle unfair tax practices of member states to favour transnational corporations. The cables demonstrate the ineffectiveness of this group linked to the EcoFin as even small progress has been blocked through member states in particular Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and the UK. Furthermore, European tax havens have adapted their tax dumping practices to make them compliant with the current outdated rules.
Fabio De Masi, Vice Chair of the Inquiry Committee on Money Laundering, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (PANA) from the United European Left Group (GUE/NGL) and Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament declare:
19 years of failure to tackle unfair tax practices of member states are a major cause of frustrations against the European project. It is high time, that the member states acknowledge the ineffectiveness of the Code of Conduct group. The European Parliament may no longer ignore the unwillingness of the Council to reform the Code of Conduct group seriously by ignoring the demands of the Parliament after the special committees on Luxleaks.
It is scandalous that Luxembourg and other member states have blocked any serious reform of the Code of Conduct group even in 2016 as the Guardian revealed. They have not learnt the lesson of the LuxLeaks scandal. Recently, the misconstructed Code group has even been tasked with new delicate jobs such as the preparation of the EU list of tax havens. The finance ministers have to get to grips with massive tax dumping. It should not be accepted that member states get away with corrupting the common market when it serves the interests of large corporations. The unanimity in the code group has to be overcome and the definition of harmful tax measures be fundamentally reworked. The proceedings shall become transparent so that citizens can hold governments accountable.
The current EU Commission has done more than any other Commission before to enable tax transparency in the EU. However, Jean-Claude Juncker has done little to explain his role in the construction of the tax haven of Luxembourg. When the PANA inquiry committee will visit Luxembourg in early March the government of Luxembourg has to become fully transparent and hand over documents it has kept secret so far. The key figure of Luxembourg’s tax dumping Marius Kohl should testify in front of the committee.
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