Sven Giegold

EU Parliament establishes permanent subcommittee on taxation and financial crime: Green success at the right time

Today the leaders of the European Parliament’s political groups in the Conference of Presidents decided to set up a permanent subcommittee on tax-related issues in the framework of the Committee on economic and monetary affairs. The committee will deal with tax fraud, tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax transparency. This will provide Parliament with permanent dedicated resources against tax dumping and tax fraud. The Greens in the European Parliament will have 3 seats and 3 substitute seats. We Greens in the European Parliament have been calling for this subcommittee since 2015. The new sub-committee is the permanent successor of the temporary special committees PANA and TAXE which were set up in response to major tax evasion scandals in recent years. In contrast to the previous special committees, however, the mandate of the new subcommittee does not include the fight against money laundering. A more comprehensive mandate has failed due to legal limitations of subcommittees.

MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:

“This is a big step in the fight against tax evasion in Europe. It is an important success at the right time: large sums of money which we need to tackle the Corona crisis are trickling away in tax swamps. If the public sector spends a unprecedented amounts of money today, it must also think about tomorrow’s revenues. Instead of making the next generation pay for the recovery, we should put a stop to tax dodging and financial crime. The damage caused by tax evasion and financial crime is huge and this permanent subcommittee is urgently needed. The subcommittee is a great success for all those who are working for greater fiscal justice. The many years of my work against tax evasion and financial crime are thus bearing fruit.

Dubious tax practices and illegal activities divide society and undermine the financial system. The EU Parliament now has an effective tool against tax fraud and tax avoidance. Tax avoidance is best tackled at European level.

Every few years there have been scandals from LuxLeaks to the Panama Papers and the Parliament has only reacted through various ad hoc committees. Now Parliament is sending a strong signal that it is on the side of tax justice. We can only repair our tax system if we cooperate at European level.

In the subcommittee, we advocate EU minimum tax rates, which are an important instrument against tax dumping. We want to shed light on the tax deals with which companies are currently bypassing the EU’s anti-tax avoidance directive en masse. In this respect, we must pay particular attention to tax havens within Europe, such as the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Malta, Ireland and Cyprus. There is increasingly fierce tax competition between the European Member States for rich individuals. To defend progressive income taxation, we need European minimum standards here. Finally, we want to constantly monitor what progress countries on the blacklist for tax havens are actually making”.

P.S.: This Thursday I am organising two exciting webinars on the protection of nature and the environment.

At 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. we will discuss a European law for mandatory due diligence together with my group colleague Anna Cavazzini, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The law is intended to ensure that companies must anticipate and address violations of animal welfare, human rights and environmental regulations in their supply chains and that violations can be sanctioned. Register here for the webinar.

Also today, Thursday 11 June, 18:00-20:00, we will discuss “Planetary Boundaries – Europe’s life on a knife-edge” with the Swedish professor and inventor of the concept “Planetary Boundaries” Johan Rockström. Together with other experts, my colleague Jutta Paulus and I would like to get to the bottom of this question: What are the challenges for a life within the Planetary Boundaries? What do we have to do to return to the safe area? The webinar will be held in English and simultaneously translated into German. Places are limited, please register here.