The Special Committee on Tax Havens (TAXE): A soap opera starring Ikea and Co.
The European Parliament's Special Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature of Effect (TAXE) is currently debating the refusal of some major corporations to cooperate with their Luxleaks investigations. Those corporations have been re-invited for a TAXE hearing on the 16th of November.
German MEP and GUE/NGL Shadow Rapporteur on TAXE, Fabio De Masi, comments: “The majority of the European Parliament must put their cards on the table. While GUE/NGL supports a removal of access cards from lobbyists of companies which do not cooperate, it won't stop them from lobbying MEPs outside the walls of the Parliament. Hence, the true test of credibility for Parliament is comprehensive measures that make these corporations pay their taxes.”
Companies that were invited to appear in the TAXE committee's meetings and declined include: Ikea, Fiat Chrysler, Barclays, Amazon, Coca Cola, McDonalds, Philip Morris, Facebook, Google and more.
“The corporations that denied any explanation to the Special Committee make a complete mockery of the European Parliament. It confirms that GUE/NGL's original proposal to establish a real committee of inquiry would have been far more effective.
“In any case, the removal of access cards from lobbyists requires changes in the European Parliament's house rules and Rules of Procedure. This is technically not possible before the TAXE report is adopted and the next hearing of the corporations is conducted. Hence, the hearing has to be postponed and the mandate of the TAXE committee has to be prolonged as requested by our group.
“In the meantime, GUE/NGL is closely inspecting European Commission documents on company taxation from the Code of Conduct Group of the European Council. However, the documents and protocols are classified and some of their content is unavailable. In addition, documents from earlier than 2010 are missing and content has been censored from the documents upon request by thirteen of the 28 member states. Notably, by contrast, the Greek government granted access to their documents. GUE/NGL is preparing to take action in the European Court of Justice regarding the withholding of these documents.
“Our final position regarding the closing report of the Special Committee will be announced as soon as possible,” concludes De Masi.