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EPP Group welcomes release of secret tax documents

Date

09 Feb 2016

Sections

Euro & Finance
Justice & Home Affairs

EPP Group welcomes release of secret tax documents

"Finally Finance Ministers give up secretiveness. We ask ourselves whether this group has been twiddling their thumbs for almost 20 years."

The EPP Group in the European Parliament has welcomed the EU Member States' U-turn on the, up until now, secret protocols of the Council's tax working group. "Finally the Finance Ministers of the Member States gave up their secretiveness on what they have done so far about controversial corporate tax practices. This is long overdue and demonstrates the success of Parliament's continued pressure," said Burkhard Balz MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in Parliament's Special Committee on corporate tax evasion, today.

To tackle the problem of tax dodging by some countries, EU Member States set up a so-called Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation in 1998. The group was supposed to find voluntary agreements to abolish harmful tax measures that some Member States used to take the bread out of the mouth of other Member States. Since the LuxLeaks scandal, the European Parliament has been calling for the release of this group's protocols, but Member States refused.

We have the suspicion that the group is just a fig leaf covering a lack of activity

Burkhard Balz MEP

"We ask ourselves whether this group has been twiddling their thumbs for almost 20 years. If, more than 15 years after the setting up of this group, the European Commission is still investigating tax cases like Google, Fiat, Amazon, Starbucks and others, then this is the evidence that the group does not function properly," Balz stressed.

"We have a suspicion that the group that was set up to prevent tax roguery is in fact just a fig leaf covering a lack of activity. Now we want to see what really happened in this group," Balz explained. He also wants further explanation on the details of the release of the protocols. "Who decides which documents are fully public and which are accessible in a closed reading room only?" he asked.

The EPP Group wants corporate taxes to be paid where the economic activity is. "We need far more cooperation between Member States. The only way to avoid losing millions in tax revenue is to introduce a harmonised corporate tax base in Europe without harmonising tax rates. Without a harmonised tax base it is impossible to make sure that taxes are paid where the economic activity is," Balz said.

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