EU Parliament LuxLeaks committee gets renewed mandate

Written by Julie Levy-Abegnoli on 3 December 2015 in News
News

MEPs welcome extended mandate for special tax committee, but warn companies and member states to stop withholding key documents.

Parliament's Conference of Presidents has unanimously approved the renewal of the special tax committee's mandate, which will run for a further six months. The committee, set up in the wake of last year's 'LuxLeaks' revelations, will continue its investigations into harmful tax practices across member states and the world.

Its structure will remain unchanged, with EPP deputy Alain Lamassoure serving as Chair and Bernd Lucke (ECR), Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL) and Eva Joly staying on as Vice-Chairs.

The first special tax committee had come in for a certain amount of criticism, after it failed to produce any significant findings.However, MEPs accused member states and multinational companies of withholding important documents.


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All parliamentary groups welcomed the committee's extended mandate. S&D group spokesperson on the committee Peter Simon said; "The new mandate enables us not only to continue seamlessly and immediately with our work, but also to further increase the pressure on the Commission and the member states."

"In addition to completing the work of the first tax committee, such as the analysis of documents that have so far been kept from us, as well as the evaluation of the hearings with multinational companies, a new emphasis of our committee work will be on critically monitoring the implementation of our demands made in the previous committee's final report."

Simon also noted that, "we have already provided the diagnosis, as well as a comprehensive recipe for counter-measures. Now, it is up to the Commission and the member states to introduce effective rules against such dubious tax practices."

Michael Theurer, co-rapporteur for the previous committee, agreed; "This decision is very good news. This new mandate will allow us to continue our work. However, we will need the European Commission and member states to provide us with the necessary information. I call on them to urgently cooperate in a constructive way with the democratically elected members of the European Parliament."

He added; "Europe needs an effective and comprehensive legal framework to put an end to opaque, unfair and unlawful economic competition. This will only be achieved if the Commission's proposals are fully respected and a common consolidated corporate tax base is adopted. Fair competition and tax fairness are key to the social market economy."

GUE/NGL group shadow rapporteur Fabio de Masi called on Parliament to, "subpoena the godfathers of the tax cartel once more; we have to clarify the political responsibilities of the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. Both preach austerity while protecting the tax dodging strategies of multinational corporations. This is totally unacceptable."

The German MEP also complained that; "The instruments of the European Parliament are too weak. We therefore ask the Council to give up the longstanding blockade of the regulation of committees of inquiry. We are currently preparing an ECJ lawsuit for full document access."

"Unlike the European Parliament, the US Senate has the legal tools to sanction uncooperative multinational corporations, while real investigations take time. The European Parliament therefore urgently needs a permanent subcommittee for investigations on tax dumping and illegal practices, which disposes of solid instruments of inquiry."

Greens/EFA group spokesperson on tax policy, Sven Giegold, commented the new committee saying it must, "continue with a serious investigation and insist on accessing the large number of crucial documents from the Commission and Council that were withheld from the initial committee. Juncker and Dijsselbloem must be recalled to provide evidence in light of new information regarding the roles of their governments in preventing EU action on tax dumping while they were finance ministers in their respective countries."

"The committee must also maintain pressure on the Commission to come forward with the necessary legislative proposals to address tax dumping and corporate tax avoidance."

 

About the author

Julie Levy-Abegnoli is a journalist for the Parliament Magazine

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