Today, by a large majority, the European Parliament adopted in plenary the final report and the recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA). In the final report, MEPs accuse Member States of serious failures in combating money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. In the recommendations, MEPs call on the European Commission and the Member States to amend legislation, take new initiatives for greater transparency and enforce existing legislation. The report contains many green proposals. During today’s vote, Conservatives and Liberals with the help of Eurosceptics deleted some key recommendations from the final report.
MEP Sven Giegold, spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group in the PANA inquiry committee commented:
“European governments have been assisting tax avoiders and money launderers for decades. The Committee of Inquiry has hauled the governments over the coals. Tax avoidance and money laundering have become a threat to social cohesion in Europe. Any government that holds its protective hand over money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion is seriously violating its social responsibility. EU countries have covered criminal transactions and in many cases violated EU law. Governments must be brought to justice, their laws must finally be made watertight and the intransparent practices of money laundering and tax avoidance must be stopped.
The report is an action plan against tax dumping and money laundering. We should not wait for further tax scandals but we must act now. The European Union must stop supporting money laundering and tax fraud. Lawyers, auditors and tax authorities must be supervised independently. The EU process for blacklisting tax havens must be transparent and follow objective criteria. We may no longer accept that profits leave the Union untaxed. We need public country-by-country reporting for big companies. The Commission has to put forward its legislative proposals through the majority rule foreseen in Article 116 to overcome the blocking of Member States in the area of tax.
The failure of governments is so striking that we need a European money laundering authority. A European money laundering authority should permanently detect the theft of the common good. The European Parliament should set up a standing committee of inquiry following the American model. In this way, we can strengthen the European Parliament’s position in solving grievances on a permanent basis. At the same time, we call for the immediate establishment of a new special committee to investigate the Paradise Papers and to maintain pressure on tax dumping and money laundering.
It is shameful that a majority of Conservatives and Liberals, with the help of Eurosceptics, have prevented some further demands: anyone who does business with tax havens should be excluded from public procurement contracts and we need a minimum tax rate on corporate profits in the EU. The watering down is particularly regrettable given the good cooperation across party lines in this area.”
BACKGROUND and Green key successes: