Sven Giegold
Mitglied der Grünen/EFA-Fraktion im Europaparlament

Sprecher Europagruppe Grüne

EP tax investigation: Lobbyists from non-compliant firms to lose access to EU Parliament

Lobbyists from corporations which refused to cooperate with the European Parliament’s special committee investigating tax issues should lose access to the European Parliament according to MEPs on the committee. The proposal, which was made by Greens/EFA MEP Sven Giegold, has secured the support of the lead MEPs (coordinators) on the committee from all political groups (apart from the ECR group) (1). The initiative comes ahead of this week’s meeting of the committee at which EU commission president Juncker will testify. Commenting on the initiative, Green economic and finance spokesperson Sven Giegold said:

The EU parliament’s tax investigation has finally woken up from its slumber. MEPs have made clear that businesses and politicians cannot simply ‘excuse themselves’ from democratic scrutiny. Lobbyists from big corporations use their access to EU politicians to shape laws and rules to their ends. These corporations also have duties under the democratic process however and that implies cooperating with a parliamentary investigation and testifying before such an investigation when requested. The EP’s president must now take up the baton and push for the non-compliant corporations to be excluded from the EU’s transparency register, so they also lose access to other institutions.”

Commenting on the hearing of the committee with EU Commission president Juncker, Green economic and finance spokesperson Molly Scott Cato said:

“Jean Claude Juncker must deal with his role in the subject matter of the EP’s tax investigation whilst prime minister and finance minister of Luxembourg. He cannot expect to hide behind his current position as Commission president. He also needs to ensure that the committee is provided with all necessary documents from the Commission to investigate the issue of tax dumping in the EU. Council and EU governments, but also the Commission (2), have failed to provide the committee with access to all requested documents. It is only by accessing all the relevant information that the EU Parliament can fulfil the mandate of the special committee and shed light on which EU member states have worked actively to prevent EU measures against aggressive tax competition. If access to these crucial documents continues to be blocked, the European Parliament must use proper legal and official avenues to ensure the committee can successfully complete its duties and fulfil its mandate.”

(1) The chair of the European Parliament’s special committee on taxation Alain Lamassoure will present this initiative to EP president Martin Schulz, with a view to ensuring the parliament’s administration takes the necessary steps to prevent these lobbyists from accessing the EP. In addition, the MEPs are calling for these corporations to be removed from the common transparency register of the European Parliament and Commission.

(2) Letter from commissioner Moscovici refusing access to documents https://sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Reply-from-Commissioner-Moscovici-to-TAXE-31.08.2015.pdf

The meeting of the TAXE committee with Jean-Claude Juncker will be broadcast at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20150917-1000-COMMITTEE-TAXE-ECON

The following is a list of all corporations invited to take part in the European Parliament’s investigation, including whether or not they complied. Those which failed to comply should lose access to the EU institutions.

 

NameInvited/RepresentativesSituation 20 July 2015
AirbusGuillaume de la Villeguerin, Head of TaxParticipated – 02.07.2015
BNP ParibasChristian Comolet-Tirman, Director, Fiscal AffairsParticipated – 23.06.2015
SSE plcMartin McEwen,  Head of TaxParticipated – 23.06.2015
Total S.A.Nathalie Mognetti, Chief tax officerParticipated – 23.06.2015
Amazon.co.uk LtdChristopher Corson North , Managing DirectorDeclined, due to ongoing investigation
Amazon S.a.r.l.Xavier Garambois, General DirectorDeclined, due to ongoing investigation
Anheuser-Busch InBevStuart MacFarlane, President Europe ZoneDeclined, due to ongoing investigation
Barclays Bank GroupAntony Jenkins, Chief ExecutiveDeclined, but remains open to reply to any specific written questions
Coca-Cola CompanyJames Quincey, PresidentDeclined, but met with co-rapporteurs
FacebookMarc Zuckerberg, Chief Executive OfficerDeclined
Fiat Chrysler AutomobilesSergio Marchionne, Chief Executive OfficerDeclined, due to ongoing investigation
GoogleEric E. Schmidt, Executive ChairmanDeclined, but ready to send “position on the tax issues”
HSBC Bank plcAlan Keir, Chief ExecutiveDeclined, due to ongoing investigation
IKEAPeter Agnefjäll, Chief Executive OfficerDeclined, but offered to invite Members for a discussion and sent Ikea’s yearly summary report – 2014
McDonald’s CorporationDouglas Goare, President EuropeDeclined, due to coinciding with major company initiative and possible Commission enquiry
Philip MorrisKristof Doms, Vice President European AffairsDeclined
WalmartShelley Broader, President and Chief Executive OfficerDeclined
Walt Disney CompanyRobert A. Iger, Chief Executive OfficerDeclined, but offered to meet with representatives of the committee to hear their views