Member states preventing access to 'LuxLeaks' documents, says EU Commissioner

Written by Colin Mackay on 4 September 2015 in News
News

Pierre Moscovici has written to Parliament's 'LuxLeaks' committee, blaming member states for blocking access to important information.

The committee had requested 25 documents in July relating to the 'LuxLeaks' revelations. However, the Commission says that almost half of all member states have refused permission, citing confidentiality concerns.

Committee chair Alain Lamassoure of the European People's Party, was unavailable for comment. However, Fabio de Masi of the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left said; "Welcome to the new world of tax transparency. Tax havens in the EU can still call the shots when deciding what the public can or can't see."

He expressed his frustrations that the Commission had bowed to pressure from uncooperative governments. "It should be helping enquiries by elected representatives and applying pressure to ensure compliance with the relevant regulations".


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De Masi submitted a question to the Commission on the so-called Krecké report, a report then-Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker had requested to look into tax fraud in the country.

The document was published in 1997, but it was allegedly missing a chapter dealing with tax rulings. The Luxembourg government refused to submit a copy to the TAXE committee.

De Masi asked the Commission what it planned to do to, "be able to draw on the information contained in the additional chapter for the purpose of its ongoing state aid investigation" and if it would give Parliament access to the documents.

European competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager responded by saying, "the Commission is currently conducting a state aid enquiry into national tax ruling practices in all member states. It has asked member states for information about individual tax rulings in order to assess the facts on a case-by-case basis."

"Given that the Krecké report does not refer to a specific undertaking and dates from 1997, it seems unlikely that information in it would be relevant for the ongoing individual State aid investigations."

These are not the first issues that the committee has faced. When it invited 18 major companies to discuss current tax legislation, only four, Airbus, BNP Paribas, SSE plc and Total, took part. Others, including Amazon, Coca-Cola, Barclays Bank, Facebook, Google, McDonalds and Philip Morris, declined.

Launched in February 2015 following the 'LuxLeaks' revelations, the committee hopes to present its findings and recommendations during the November plenary.

 

About the author

Colin Mackay is a Brussels-based writer and editorial consultant

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