While a special committee on tax havens would not have been put in place without pressure from the GUE/NGL and Greens/EFA groups, GUE/NGL reiterates its condemnation of Parliament's refusal to open a committee with much greater powers to investigate corporate tax evasion and tax fraud scandals.
A 'coup' by the EPP, S&D, ALDE, and ECR groups means that a so-called 'special committee' with limited powers will be set up instead of a more substantial 'committee of inquiry'. A plenary vote will be held later today to confirm this decision, taken at last week's meeting of EP political group leaders.
MEP Fabio De Masi said: “A committee of inquiry would have allowed MEPs access to member states' documents whereas the special committee does not have anywhere near as far-reaching powers. Martin Schulz and the majority of group leaders shield organised crime in tax policy and empty the pockets of average citizens. The same political forces that dictate austerity in Greece and elsewhere shield tax theft by multinational corporations.”
“The main political groups decided that empty words were preferable to taking real action,” added MEP Marisa Matias. “This special committee has fewer powers than Parliament's existing economic and monetary affairs (ECON) committee does. The Luxleaks and Swissleaks scandals reveal the extent of legal tax evasion that is going on in Europe – this must be treated as any other form of criminal activity would. The inquiry must go beyond narrow competition law and also focus on legal tax evasion by multinational corporations.
MEP Miguel Viegas commented: “If member states prove to be uncooperative concerning their shady tax deals with multinational companies, will the Parliament group leaders then see sense and turn the special committee into an inquiry committee? All the special committee does is gives the illusion of action – MEPs can bolster their own image and seem like they are taking a tough line on corporate tax evasion while at the same time protecting these very same corporate interests.
Notes to editors:
1) GUE/NGL MEPs Fabio De Masi, Marisa Matias and Miguel Viegas are full members of the special committee and Dimitris Papadimoulis, Rina Ronja Kari and Paloma Lopez are substitute members of the committee.
2) The Special Committee is foreseen to have a mandate of 6 months that can be renewed for an additional 6 months.