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Leftist group gathers MEP signatures to oust Juncker Commission over Luxleaks

The leftist GUE/NGL group has started gathering signatures from MEPs for a motion of censure against the commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker over his involvement in widespread tax evasion while he was Finance Minister of Luxembourg, revealed by the so-called Luxleaks.

In a communiqué published yesterday (11 November), the European Parliament’s group European United Left – Nordic Green Left, which consist of 52 members from 14 countries, says it is looking for as broad support as possible from other political groups to help reach the total of 76 MEPs needed to pass the motion. However, GUE/NGL MEPs will not be accepting signatures from extreme right-wing MEPs that wish to sign.

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said that the “Luxleaks” scandal was “just one very clear example of EU governments' acceptance of 'legal' tax evasion and fraud”.

The scandal erupted on 5 November, when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published articles based on a review of nearly 28,000 pages of confidential documents, which reveal that more than 300 international companies appear to have channeled hundreds of billions of dollars through Luxembourg and saved billions of dollars in taxes.

Malin Björk, GUE/NGL Vice-President, called the scale of tax evasion in Luxembourg under Juncker's leadership “shocking”.

“Now is not the time to wait and see, but a time for action. To not act now would be the same as giving Juncker and all the companies using Luxembourg as a tax haven a free pass to continue these aggressive tax evasion policies,” she stated.

Juncker has resisted calls from MEPs to speak to Parliament over the issue. Margaritas Schinas, his spokesperson, repeated on Monday (10 November) that the Commission would make available all the information and explanation at the necessary level, in accordance to the demands of relevant services of Parliament.

>> Read: Juncker resists calls to face MEPs over ‘Luxembourg leaks’

Juncker’s line of defence appears to be that the tax deals were not illegal, and that he will in no way prevent the commissioner responsible for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, from doing her job in investigating the four cases opened so far (two in Luxembourg, one in the Netherlands and one in Ireland). It is however unclear what happens with the other cases.