The European Parliament has today approved the establishment of a new special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance. The Plenary adopted with broad majority the mandate containing many Green proposals. The Special Committee will be composed of 45 members. The vote on the membership of the committee is due to take place in the March plenary session.
Sven Giegold, the Green negotiator for the TAX3 committee’s mandate, comments:
“We will put the recent money laundering scandals in Denmark, Estonia and Latvia at the top of the agenda. Danske Bank, the Latvian ABLV and the national anti-money laundering authorities have to explain to Parliament their recent failure to prevent money laundering. The European Commission, the ECB and the European Banking Authority must explain what they will do to prevent such scandals from happening again. We will also demand full access to all documents relating to the screening of third countries for the EU’s black list of tax havens. The credibility of the black list has to be restored.
We need to finish the work we have started on delivering tax justice across the EU. When the Panama Papers scandal broke, the European Parliament took swift action. We produced a strong set of recommendations that could help bring an end to the seemingly unending series of tax scandals that have hit Europe in recent years. Through this new committee, we can help make sure these policies are implemented by the European Commission and the Member States. Only then can all citizens know that everyone is paying their fair share, with no exceptions for the super rich or big corporations.
The special committee has to follow up on hints by the slain journalist Ján Kuciak. The journalist was shot in Slovakia while investigating into the Panama Papers, connections with the Italian mafia and Slovak politics. We demand the European Parliament to send an ad-hoc mission to Slovakia immediately. As in Malta the murder of journalists may not be accepted.”
Mandate of the special committee:
The key priorities for the Greens/EFA group are as follows:
- Ensure the follow-up of the PANA recommendations and especially the correct implementation of key EU legislations to fight money laundering, tax evasion and tax avoidance (e.g. anti-money laundering directive, directive on administrative cooperation, the EU blacklist of tax havens)
- Investigate new or unexplored topics which emerged during the PANA investigations. For example, the practice of citizenship programmes / golden visas in several Member States provide non-EU citizens with EU citizenship and can be abused as a tool to launder money. Digital taxation is also an important topics as many large companies from the digital sector (Google, Facebook, Amazon) have been caught shifting profits to tax havens
- Investigate the Paradise Papers schemes, to see if new patterns emerge (compared to Paradise Papers) and who (intermediaries and countries) facilitate money laundering and tax dodging. This would also be the opportunity to investigate VAT fraud, which is estimated at €50 billion in the EU.