"The EU finance ministers' decision on tax rulings is disappointing" say S&D Euro MPs
S&D Euro MPs today expressed disappointment with the EU finance ministers' agreement concerning the automatic exchange of information on tax rulings among EU member states.
S&D Group spokeswoman on economic and monetary affairs, Elisa Ferreira said:
"It is very regrettable that the Council has watered down the European Commission's proposal. This proposal was already the absolute minimum in terms of transparency of the tax rulings and was incapable of coping with the magnitude of the LuxLeaks scandal, when an international consortium of journalists unveiled that more than 300 big companies were offered secret deals in Luxembourg in order to reduce their tax bill.
"The decision to deny the Commission access to the contents of the rulings that will be exchanged by member states and to limit its position to the monitoring of the enforcement of the Directive is absolutely against the very essence of the transparency that is required in this matter and is against the European spirit. The Commission has to be at the centre of this agenda. We have seen with the experience of the Code of Conduct Group, established within the Council, what happens when the transparency is limited."
S&D Group spokesperson on tax rulings and Belgian Euro MP, Hugues Bayet added:
"In recent months, things have evolved in the right direction, but the Council has not gone far enough. We must remain vigilant and not be satisfied with measures that would be only cosmetic.
"All the multinationals' tax rulings, without exception, must be analysed and verified. The Council proposes to exclude tax agreements of more than 5 years, which makes no sense.
"The rules are only effective if there are sanctions. However, the Council rejects any penalty.
"One cannot be judge and jury. The Council wishes to be the reference body to check and regulate the tax rescripts. Now it is for the Commission to take on that role in ensuring more equity.
"We should remember that multinationals are the only winners of the tax competition that countries indulge. Citizens and states are always losers. It is necessary to regulate the practices of multinational tax planning for them as they participate in community development."