The GUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament opposed Jean Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. The role played by Luxembourg and Juncker in the EU is far from new: prior to Juncker’s confirmation by the European Parliament we voiced our concern that a former head of state of a tax haven and an advocate of austerity could not serve the interests of the majority of European citizens. In spite of all this, a majority of the parliamentary groups, namely the EPP, S&D, ECR and ALDE backed Juncker.

After the public outrage over “LuxLeaks”, we swiftly proposed a Motion of Censure to force Juncker’s resignation as President of the EU Commission. The S&D and the Greens/EFA Group refused to sign our motion and preferred to “fight” the Juncker system under the leadership of Juncker and, hence, prevented a coherent response to tax theft by corporations and the wealthy oligarchy. In doing this, they protected Juncker’s position and avoided in that way a condemnation of the illegitimate fiscal schemes and policies which benefit big transnational capital.

As a consequence, the EFDD and NI have now tabled a motion of censure against Juncker, with the signature of the far right. We, as the GUE/NGL group, do not want to be associated with this.

The leader of EFDD Nigel Farage (UKIP) opposes Juncker, but not the Juncker system. They criticize tax avoidance and tax evasion in Luxembourg but remain silent about the tax havens established in the United Kingdom.

The EU Member States lose 1 trillion Euros a year due to tax avoidance and tax evasion, while cuts in public investment and the welfare state deepen the economic and social crisis in the EU. We support the resignation of Juncker and the creation of a parliamentary committee of inquiry on taxation, as well as a proper investigation of tax rulings in several EU Member States.

However, we are not prepared to fool the public about the true scandal: Corporate tax avoidance is mostly legal in the EU. Tax rulings are perfectly compatible with EU competition law if they do not constitute a preferential treatment of single corporations. Hence, the fight against tax theft has to address the flawed architecture of the current EU.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts in Florence:
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Gianfranco Battistini +32 475 64 66 28
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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