The European Parliament's special committee investigating tax issues yesterday evening voted on a report, summarising the findings of the investigation so far. While the Greens voted in favour of the report, which contains some ambitious proposals, the group has argued that the investigation is incomplete and should be extended, due to the lack of cooperation by many multinational corporations, EU governments and the European Commission. Commenting after the vote, Green economic and finance spokesperson Sven Giegold said:
"MEPs have today called for meaningful EU action in response to the revelations of widespread tax avoidance by corporations. Unfortunately, many multinational corporations, EU governments and even the Commission have failed to properly cooperate with the investigation. As such, the exercise is incomplete and we are urging the other political groups to support extending the mandate of the special committee, so we can exert more pressure on the laggards to fully cooperate.
"It is only by accessing all the relevant information that the EU Parliament can fulfil the mandate of the special committee and shed light on which EU member states have worked actively to prevent EU measures against aggressive tax competition. Those governments that have refused to cooperate should now reconsider. It cannot be the case that politicians in key EU positions, like Commission president Juncker and Eurogroup chair Dijsselbloem, are also standing in the way. While the report adopted today makes some good recommendations, the fact its work was obstructed has made it impossible for the committee to properly investigate responsibility for the situation. It is in the European public interest that this investigation is completed."
Green tax spokesperson Molly Scott Cato added:
"This report underlines that EU governments failed in their duties under EU law, both as regards state aid and information exchange, while criticising the Commission for its failure to fulfil its duty of enforcing EU law by launching infringement procedures against member states. It also highlights a number of important measures that should be taken as part of a coherent EU response. It calls for full transparency of tax rulings and for public country-by-country reporting obligations for all larger businesses, to ensure their opaque tax avoidance practises are subject to scrutiny. It also calls for proper whistleblower protection, including via EU funds. We would urge the Commission and EU governments to final take steps towards introducing these common sense measures."