Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed the full Parliament’s approval of the follow-up report prepared by the special committee on tax rulings, which includes a raft of recommendations for fairer and more transparent corporate taxation.
Speaking from Strasbourg after this afternoon’s vote, Ms. Childers, who was among the first MEPs to formally request a committee of inquiry on foot of the Luxleaks scandal, said:
“We must face up to tax dumping practices and recognise their sheer injustice, the immense damage they cause to our citizens’ trust in government and public administration, and the losses to public service provision from the uncollected revenue.
“After all the crisis measures’ squeeze to the public purse, we cannot afford to carry on with scandalous tax business as usual.
“Where conservative politics seized the day and applied the turn-screws of austerity to public finances and the most vulnerable members of society, some of the strongest players in the corporate world remained above the tax law thanks to their clout, legal resources and the connivance of governments.
“The EU will be moving towards blacklisting tax havens, but we also need to make private players accountable. We need means to deter and punish legal and accountancy consultants, financial intermediaries, and companies engaged in irregular tax practices.
“So called patent box regimes for intellectual property are supposedly meant to spur innovation but there seems to be a big hole at the bottom where profits are siphoned from.
“Measures such as an EU-wide register of beneficial ownership would be immensely helpful to tax authorities.
“Now Parliament will continue work with a committee of inquiry into the Panama Papers leaks, and the gaps and omissions in our current regimes will only become more apparent.
“Last week’s sad spectacle, with the condemnation of the Luxleaks whistle-blowers in court, added insult to injury and shows how vulnerable those who shed light on serious misdemeanors are.
“By virtue of his government’s role while the Luxleaks events unfolded, I think Commission President Junker should at least feel morally obliged to come forward with vigorous whistle-blower protection legislation.
“It certainly didn’t take him much soul-searching to put a corporate trade secrets law on the table, so he should be well aware of the issues at stake, not to mention his personal repute.”