Commission guide: 'Crisis still casts a shadow' over Europe, argues Moscovici

Former MEP explains why he believes cooperation between the commission and parliament is key to the EU’s economic recovery.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

11 Feb 2015

Just like his peers, European economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs commissioner Pierre Moscovici is focused on "helping create better conditions for job creation and economic growth". This common goal hardly comes as a surprise - "as commissioners, we are working together closely and in a spirit of collegiality. We are a politically diverse but united team, cooperating productively on important issues", explains the Frenchman.

"Relaunching Europe towards jobs and growth and creating a fairer fiscal environment are the benchmarks against which we will be judged by our citizens when we reach the finishing line in five years’ time"

He adds that he is part of "essential project teams, among them jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, energy union, euro and social dialogue, as well as better regulation and inter-institutional affairs. I have daily discussions with vice-presidents and other commissioners in order to create collaborative solutions. I truly believe that this is the right way to proceed, so that all members of the college contribute to new initiatives".

In his role, he works on "supporting investment through the investment plan for Europe, encouraging structural reforms to boost competitiveness, and pursuing responsible fiscal policies through continuing efforts from member states and a smarter application of the stability and growth pact".

On top of this, he is "determined to promote more transparent, fairer and effective common taxation rules". He highlights that he is "committed to stepping up the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning - both on the European and international scenes", explaining that "these are essential conditions to ensure the proper functioning of the single market. And let’s not forget the important issues linked to customs and our work to develop a more efficient EU customs union that facilitates trade while ensuring security for our citizens."

This commitment will no doubt have been prompted by the recent ‘LuxLeaks’ controversy that revealed questionable tax deals offered by Luxembourg to multinational companies. For Moscovici, the episode "has created a momentum for a joint offensive on tax matters". He promises a "directive on the automatic exchange of information regarding tax rulings in the coming weeks, which will be followed by other proposals later in the year".

"I am committed to stepping up the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning - both on European and international scenes"

Another issue the EU’s economic affairs chief will be dealing with is the implementation of a financial transaction tax (FTT). He explains that "in January 2013, the council authorised 11 member states to establish enhanced cooperation for the introduction of an FTT. As such, it is not to be an EU-wide tax, but will be based on the will of these member states". Specific details still need to be hashed out, but "the commission is determined to facilitate the adoption of the FTT under enhanced cooperation by providing any technical and political support that the 11 member states may require".

This may seem like a lot to take on, which is why Moscovici says he is "looking forward to high quality cooperation with parliament throughout its term". He points out that his six years as an MEP allowed him to "build up in-depth knowledge of the parliament’s functioning and of its central role in European decisionmaking". He particularly values the institution, as it is "the only one directly elected by our citizens". More specifically, he explains, "I have regular discussions with MEPs on subjects of common interest during plenary sessions, as well as in specific meetings with the committees for economic and monetary affairs and taxation and customs union. I will focus a lot of energy on ensuring that this close cooperation continues effectively over the remainder of the legislature. I will be available for meetings and debates at parliament as often as necessary".

Just like the rest of the college, Moscovici understands that difficult times lay ahead. He underlines that "this is a challenging time for the European Union. The crisis still casts a shadow over our societies and economic recovery is still too slow and too fragile. We need to act together and with determination to strengthen that recovery. The last European elections were a serious warning to Europe’s political leaders. Relaunching Europe towards jobs and growth and creating a fairer fiscal environment are the benchmarks against which we will be judged by our citizens when we reach the finishing line in five years’ time". And he is fully aware of the role he has to play, saying, "the policy areas I am responsible for are central to the agenda of the Juncker commission. They are at the heart of our efforts to build solid and stable foundations on which the European project can thrive again."

Pierre Moscovici is European economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs commissioner

 

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