Tax payments by large companies will not become more transparent for the time being. After a long struggle, the EU member states have not yet been able to agree on a common position on public country-by-country reporting. A qualified majority in the EU Council of Ministers could not be reached because 13 member states did not support the compromise of the Finnish presidency.
In response to the scandal surrounding the Panama Papers, the EU Commission had already submitted the corresponding legislative proposal in April 2016. The European Parliament had defined its position in July 2017. Without a common position of the Council of the Member States, however, negotiations on the final legislative text cannot begin. The EU Commission’s legislative proposal thus remains in limbo.
Sven Giegold, spokesperson for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the European Parliament, commented:
“This is a bitter day for tax justice. A blocking minority of Member States prevented more tax justice in Europe and sided with the tax havens. With their blockade, they have slowed down the fight against tax avoidance throughout Europe. With tax transparency for each country, Europe would in fact have put a stop to the transfer of profits to tax havens. One of the most effective instruments against tax avoidance was rejected. It is particularly embossing that Germany was the only large country that did not support tax transparency. The Union is opposed to fair competition between SMEs and large companies. The resistance to tax transparency on the part of large companies undermines the social market economy. European taxpayers lose billions every year through tax avoidance by large companies. With public tax transparency this could have finally stopped. The fight by us Greens and many activists for more tax justice is not over; there is still time under the Finnish Presidency to swing some of today’s blocking member states around. We have to thank and commend the Finnish Presidency for their continued efforts to bring this important file to a positive conclusion. Europe remains our best lever against global tax dumping.”
Voting behaviour at today’s meeting of the Competitiveness Council
For: Spain, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, France, Portugal, Greece, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark
Against: Luxembourg, Latvia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Ireland, Estonia, Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Croatia