Juncker faces further 'LuxLeaks' probing

EU parliament set to dig deeper into tax evasion with enquiry committee.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

16 Jan 2015

The Greens/EFA group has succeeded in its bid to set up a special enquiry committee into tax evasion and dumping, after gaining the support of over 25 per cent of MEPs, as required by parliament rules.

This comes on top of an enquiry report currently being drafted by parliament's economic affairs committee.

The call for the enquiry committee came after the recent 'LuxLeaks' controversy, which exposed questionable tax deals the Luxembourgish government had arranged with multinational companies.

The revelations particularly struck a nerve as commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was prime minister of Luxembourg at the time the supposed agreements were made.

The EU chief, who has repeatedly voiced his commitment to putting an end to tax fraud and tax evasion in Europe, told parliament, "I am not in charge of Luxembourg anymore and I won't apologise for what I have done for my country".

"An inquiry committee is the most powerful tool available to the parliament and can investigate breaches of EU law by member states and if the commission acted in accordance with its duties under EU treaties" - Sven Giegold

And while an apology may not be on the cards for Juncker, an explanation might, as MEPs are set to convene in a committee dedicated to investigating the tax allegations.

Greens/EFA economic and finance spokesperson Sven Giegold explained, "an inquiry committee is the most powerful tool available to the parliament and can investigate breaches of EU law by member states and if the commission acted in accordance with its duties under EU treaties".

ALDE group president Guy Verhofstadt said the liberals "have no problem with transforming the enquiry report into an enquiry committee", as long as MEPs continue their legislative work against tax fraud and tax evasion.

However, not everyone fully supports the committee. Socialist group president Gianni Pittella believes that "a legislative report, issued by the economic affairs committee, will be the best way to force the commission to act in order to tackle the unfair tax competition between member states".

And EPP chair Manfred Weber - whose group Juncker belongs to - tweeted that while the EPP "respects the right of a minority in the parliament calling for an inquiry committee - we keep on working in a constructive manner".

The new enquiry committee will present an interim report within six months of starting its work, with a final report expected within 12 months. However, it is unclear when exactly this work will begin.

 

Read the most recent articles written by Julie Levy-Abegnoli - MEPs vote against beginning negotiations on updating EU copyright laws

Share this page