The European Parliament special committee to investigate tax evasion and dumping in Europe today met for the first time, agreeing on its structure and key posts at its constitutive meeting (1). The special committee will operate on the mandate proposed by the Greens/EFA group as the basis for an inquiry committee. Commenting on the occasion, Greens/EFA spokesperson on the special committee Sven Giegold said:
“We are glad that this investigation is finally starting its work, after months of obstruction by EU Parliament president Schulz and the leaders of the EP’s bigger political groups. This special committee must swiftly ramp up its investigation of tax dumping and evasion in Europe with a view to preparing a proper legislative follow-up at EU level. We will make sure that the committee aggressively investigates those who are behind and have profited from aggressive tax practices in Europe and we sincerely hope the other political groups will also work to this goal. Greens urge whistleblowers and experts to support the inquiry with original information documenting tax dumping and the complacency of states and EU insitutions.”
Greens/EFA MEP and vice-chair of the special committee Eva Joly added:
“It is important that the committee agrees on an ambitious work programme and swiftly moves to identify high-ranking witnesses to be called to testify. To be effective, this committee will have to have access to key documents from member states, as well as the prerogative to call high-ranking witnesses, including board members of big corporations and current or former implicated finance ministers. The support of all political groups will be vital to this end. As seen just yesterday with the revelations on tax avoidance by McDonalds, we have still only scraped the surface of corporate tax chicanery in Europe. It is important we get to the bottom of these practices, so we can propose comprehensive solutions to ensure corporations can no longer avoid their tax responsibility.”
(1) The special committee is composed of 45 MEPs and will have an initial time-frame of 6 months, which could be extended. The mandate of the committee is to investigate cases of breaches or poor application of EU law with regard to taxation. The chair of the committee will be EPP MEP Alain Lamassoure, with Greens/EFA MEP Eva Joly one of the vice-chairs. The Greens/EFA group will have three full members – Sven Giegold, Eva Joly and Philippe Lamberts – and three substitute members – Ernest Maragall, Molly Scott Cato and Ernest Urtasun.
The first full ordinary of the committee will be on 9 March (21.00) and the Greens want to ensure it adopts an ambitious working programme, so the investigation proper can swiftly proceed.
The mandate for the special committee can be found here.