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Fabio De Masi: “Juncker met with banks regularly, of course, but never talked about tax load.

Luxleaks – MEP Fabio De Masi: “Juncker met with banks regularly, of course, but never talked about tax load.”

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Pierre Moscovici, the EU Commissioner responsible for tax and customs and Commissioner Vestager appeared before a joint ECON and TAXE committee meeting in the European Parliament this morning to look at ways of improving tax transparency in the EU.

GUE/NGL MEP Fabio De Masi, member for the group on both committees, expressed his reaction:

“Juncker pretends to have been at the forefront of the fight for tax justice in Europe. This is absolutely ridiculous given his 20 years at the helm of one of Europe's most prominent tax havens and an utter mockery of every honest taxpayer on the continent.

“His principle today was that he did not take any decisions on tax matters in Luxembourg in the past, and does not take decisions in the Commission at the moment either. His assertions of never having met a single tax advisory firm during his tenure or never having talked about tax during, as he admits, regular meetings with Luxembourg bankers sound like they are from another planet.”

On the work of the TAXE committee (now coming to its close) MEP De Masi said: “The EP's grand coalition obstructed the work of the TAXE committee from the start by blocking the push for a full inquiry committee. Member states, the Council and also the Commission still refuse to make available requested documents. A majority of invited multinational corporations did not even bother to attend to TAXE hearings. We now have to be honest and say that the committee was not able to fulfil its mandate and should be converted into an inquiry committee which should stand for as long as it takes to properly investigate all breaches of EU law that TAXE has concluded exist on an enormous scale across the EU.”

“The Parliament also needs to be a lot more assertive in its dealings with multinationals who refuse to cooperate with parliamentary inquiries but spare no efforts when it comes to excessive lobbying, also within our premises. These companies should have their access rights to Parliament withdrawn immediately and we additionally need changes to the inter-institutional agreement with the Commission in order to also take them off the institutions' transparency register. This is the least we should be doing as elected representatives.”

De Masi outlined what he considers is needed in terms of tax policy: “The touted tax measures by the Commission and the OECD are insufficient and will not stop the massive international tax dodging. We urgently need real transparency in the form of fully public country-by-country reporting, a full disclosure of the ultimate beneficial owners of companies, trusts and other tax planning vehicles and also public scrutiny of tax rulings. Whistleblowers and journalists need to be robustly protected, too. This is why we have nominated Antoine Deltour and others for the Sakharov prize this year. But transparency alone will only do so much. Member states need to come to a position where they will break the vicious cycle of tax dumping in the EU. This requires cancelling double taxation agreements that prevent withholding taxes which would be need to fend off tax havens and their practices. In addition, reductions in public sector workers have to be reversed urgently. In tax administrations, this will more than pay for itself.”

 

GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

Nikki Sullings +32 483 03 55 75

ee-gue.spade @GUENGL