Tomorrow, 2 September from 2.15 pm, Olaf Scholz will appear before the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) on behalf of the German presidency. The hearing can be followed live here.
The following questions and topics could be relevant in the hearing with Olaf Scholz:
How can large payment service providers like Wirecard be better supervised?
In response to the Wirecard fiasco, Scholz has presented a 16-point action plan. However, his plan remains silent on how systemically important payment service providers and new financial service providers can be better supervised in the future. We Greens believe that large cross-border payment processors in the EU should be supervised by a strong European supervisory authority, as is the case with systemically important banks. The German Government has always rejected this in the past. Scholz must abandon this blockade and present convincing proposals for stronger and more effective supervision. For the European Capital Markets Union we also need a common and strong EU supervision instead of overburdened and fragmented national supervisory authorities.
What can the investigation by European financial supervisors into Wirecard achieve?
The failure of BaFin’s supervision of Wirecard also has consequences at European level. The European Financial Market Authority (ESMA) has already launched an investigation into the role of Bafin at the request of the EU Commission. Together with the coordinators of the Economic and Legal Affairs Committees, I have written a letter to the EU Commission on this matter and have called for the investigations to be extended to include money laundering risks and the suitability of European rules.
How can large digital companies be taxed fairly?
In the past, the German government had always opposed a European digital tax and insisted on a global solution. However, with the U.S. pulling out of the OECD negotiations on the taxation of large digital companies, this will not happen in the foreseeable future. Germany has long blocked public country-specific tax transparency (country-by-country-reporting) in the Council. Germany must advance the issue of tax justice during its Council Presidency. Scholz must no longer block the way forward. In order to finally tax digital companies fairly, we urgently need country-specific tax transparency (country-by-country reporting) and a European digital tax, as demanded by the European Parliament.
Is there a threat of entire economies being ruined with austerity once again as they were after the last crisis?
Olaf Scholz recently announced that Germany will not be able to do without net new debt in 2021 either. Nevertheless, he remains committed to a return to the “black zero” in the federal budget as quickly as possible. Finance Commissioner Dombrovskis had declared in July that he also wanted to reinstate the budget rules at EU level as soon as possible after the end of the crisis, but left the specific date open. The rapid return to balanced budgets has led to drastic austerity programmes in many EU countries after the financial crisis, which caused lasting damage to economies and infrastructure. This mistake must not be repeated. Instead of announcing austerity measures on his own, Scholz and his colleagues from the other member states should work together to ensure that the debt of the Corona crisis is dealt with in a coordinated, sustainable and socially just manner. It is completely unclear what the German government’s position is regarding the reform of the European Stability and Growth Pact and the Fiscal Pact.
Link to the hearing in the ECON Committee tomorrow, 2 September from 2.15 pm: https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/de/committee-on-economic-and-monetary-affairs_20200902-1345-COMMITTEE-ECON_vd
With green European greetings