Sven Giegold
Mitglied der Grünen/EFA-Fraktion im Europaparlament

Sprecher Europagruppe Grüne

Public tax transparency for large companies: German Finance Minister Scholz must break blockade in Council

There is Parliament beyond Brexit: Ahead of the plenary debate tomorrow (Tuesday, 22 October), the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament call on the German government to abandon its blockade of “country-by-country-reporting” for large companies. While in July 2017, the European Parliament approved the Commission proposal with some improvements, the Council of Member States still lacks a qualified majority for cross-border public tax transparency. Apart from some EU tax havens, the German federal government is to blame for the blockade, as it is the only large Member State to be on the brakes. In contrast to other legislative initiatives of the EU Commission in the field of tax legislation, the proposal on tax transparency does not require the approval of all Member States, but only a qualified majority. Due to disagreement among the Member States, the relevant Council working group has not met since its last meeting in January 2019. Only now the Finnish presidency scheduled a meeting for this Friday, the 25th of October.

Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz announced in September this year that he had agreed with the other SPD ministers in the German government to support tax transparency. Now Scholz must assert himself in the federal government, demands Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group:

“This important proposal of the Juncker Commission against tax dumping must not die. Our best lever for more tax justice and against tax avoidance by large companies is Europe. Country-by-country tax transparency will effectively stop the transfer of profits to tax havens. 

It is an embarrassment for an SPD finance minister if the federal government blocks one of the most effective means against tax avoidance by multinational companies. Olaf Scholz must assert himself in the grand coalition in Berlin. The SPD is failing here just as it is in the fight against climate change. Together with the Finnish Council Presidency Scholz must ensure that an agreement is reached by the end of the year”.

Plenary debate and resolution:

Tomorrow (Tuesday, 22 October) MEPs will debate tax transparency and tax justice, and on Thursday (24 October) MEPs will vote on a resolution (major changes are unlikely): https://sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Draft-Resolution-CBCR.pdf

5 November marks the fifth anniversary of the LuxLeaks scandal. Public country-by-country tax reporting was one of the lessons learned from the scandal and will oblige large multinationals to disclose where they pay taxes.