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EU finance ministers must heed Panama Papers vote
Today the European Parliament adopted the report by its Panama Papers inquiry committee and voted in favor of recommendations aimed at stopping corporate tax avoidance across the European Union. Oxfam welcomes the Parliament's call for EU member states to adopt the reforms needed to end corporate tax abuses.
Oxfam’s Policy Advisor on tax and inequality, Aurore Chardonnet, said:
“The European Parliament is taking steps to address the need for more tax justice following the Panama Papers and Lux Leaks scandals. But tax justice will only remain at the top of the EU agenda if the Parliament follows the proposal to also investigate the Paradise Papers revelations.
“9 out of 10 Europeans are asking for tougher rules on tax avoidance and tax havens. But EU governments are blocking or delaying the much-needed reforms. The Parliament’s vote should be a wake-up call for governments to listen to what their voters and representatives actually want.”
- Following the Panama Papers revelations, the European Parliament decided in June 2016 to establish a committee of inquiry, known as the PANA committee, to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of European Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. During its mandate – which came to an end on 8 December – the Committee held 30 official meetings, conducted 8 fact-finding missions and commissioned 9 academic studies into various aspects of money laundering and tax evasion.
- The PANA Committee follows up on the work of the TAXE Committee on “tax rulings, and other measures similar in nature or effect” set up in 2015 following the Lux Leaks scandal, which exposed large-scale tax avoidance practices by some of the biggest global corporations in several EU member states.
- 86% of European are in favor of “tougher rules on tax avoidance and tax havens”, while 8% are “against the idea” according to the Standard Eurobarometer, published in July 2017.
- The European Parliament’s vote comes a week after the 28 finance ministers of the EU adopted a first EU blacklist of tax havens.
- A week earlier, Oxfam had released its own assessment of the EU tax haven blacklist. The report ‘Blacklist or Whitewash’ showed what a robust blacklist of tax havens would look like if the EU were to objectively apply its own criteria and not bow to political pressures. Oxfam also said that 4 EU member states fail the EU’s own criteria: Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Malta.
- Following the Paradise Papers scandal, Oxfam released a 5-point plan outlining steps governments should take on a global scale to prevent further scandals.
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