Junckergate: When it becomes serious, you have to lie?
Commission President allegedly makes false claims to GUE/NGL questions in TAXE committee
The European Parliament's special committee on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect (TAXE) heard Commission President and former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker on 17 September. Probed by GUE/NGL shadow rapporteur for TAXE's report, Fabio De Masi, he made several claims in relation to the so-called Krecké report which do not seem to withstand scrutiny. The report, written by former Member of Parliament and subsequent Minister of Economy Jeannot Krecké, covers tax policy and tax avoidance in Luxembourg and was published in 1997. A page on the practice of tax rulings in the Grand Duchy was however considered too sensitive and withheld from the public. Juncker asserted in TAXE not being in possession of this page, which had been formally requested by the committee in May, and only having heard of its existence in 2014, after a public interview by Jeannot Krecké.
Fabio De Masi comments on President Juncker's statements:
“Juncker can no longer shy away. Mr Krecké confirmed publicly in Luxembourg and in writing to me that he has handed a complete version of his report, including the unpublished page, to Mr Juncker in 1997. He also gave him an additional version recently with considerable doubts remaining and claims to the contrary by a leading investigative journalist from Luxembourg whether this occurred after the hearing of Mr Juncker. Juncker hence did not respond to questions in Parliament truthfully. This is intolerable. I have written to Mr Juncker last week, urging him to clarify the contradictions in his statements and making the complete report available to the TAXE committee. To date, there has been no response”.
“I am also calling on the TAXE committee to re-invite Juncker as well as Mr Krecké and the Journalist Veronique Poujol who uncovered the issue around the secret page for another hearing. Furthermore, the TAXE committee must ask Mr Juncker to immediately release the secret page if he is in possession of the page as Mr Krecké claims. We cannot accept heads of EU institutions making false claims to Parliament and the wider public. In the interest of citizens paying their fair share of taxes and suffering from austerity, the Parliament's large groups need to end their opposition against a full inquiry committee into corporate tax avoidance. GUE/NGL has been calling for this since the LuxLeaks revelations in 2014. The Commission and the Council must also stop their obstruction of the Parliament's right to inquiry and consent to the proposed Regulation on committees of inquiry which would equip the European Parliament with investigative powers common to most parliaments in EU member states.”