Sven Giegold
Mitglied der Grünen/EFA-Fraktion im Europaparlament

Sprecher Europagruppe Grüne
„Kommt, wir bauen das neue Europa!“

Lobby of Tax Evaders: Campaign against Tax Evasion

This article published on 7/9/2015 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.fr-online.de. Thanks to the translator Marc Batko.

The public still does not know how much taxes businesses pay and in what country. This must change but Germany blocks transparency.

The outrageous tax avoidance of several international conglomerates could be stopped with a little change of the rules of the game in Europe. Today big businesses publish their profits and taxes on profits summarized for the whole company. The public does not know how much taxes are paid in what country. We must begin here. Companies should be obligated to transparency for the specific countries. This is already prescribed for banks and raw material corporations.

Europe decides questions of business transparency in majority votes with the full cooperation of the European Parliament. Transparency is much less ideologically charged than tax harmonization in Europe. Everyone – particularly big businesses – is for transparency.

Transparency on tax morality would enable investors, journalists, business partners and consumers to punish extreme tax avoidance. The lobby of tax evaders hardly fears the plans of the European Commission to combat tax avoidance. The proposals are either toothless or hopeless thanks to several blockading countries. For Google, Amazon & Co, transparency is a red rag to a bull.

In the European Parliament, there is a narrow majority for country-specific tax transparency for corporations. In the council of member countries, the red-black German government is the harshest opponent of tax transparency. That the German blockade ministers Heiko Maas and Sigmar Gabriel are social democrats is very annoying. While social democrats in the European Parliament intensively support tax transparency, Mr. Gabriel does not lift a finger to correct the course of the German government in the sense of “working middle class” taxpayers.

This is really overdue after the scandals over the tailor-made tax deals for Wal-Mart, Google and Amazon & Co. The German government could simply act justly: for normal taxpayers and for small and medium-size businesses exposed to an unfair predatory competition.