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Eurodad reaction to the European Commission’s initiative on EU tax decision making

Added 15 Jan 2019
Tuesday January 15 2019

Today, the European Commission kick-started the debate on whether to change EU decision making on tax matters, suggesting a stepwise move towards qualified majority voting, including giving an active role to the European Parliament. At the same time, the Parliament, which currently has an advisory role on EU tax matters, adopted a strong and progressive report calling for the EU to get rid of tax policies that have negative impacts on gender equality.

Tove Maria Ryding, Tax Coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), said:

“It’s very true that the EU’s decision making on tax has so far been too ineffective and too unambitious. As the Commission also highlights, this is particularly problematic given that our societies are currently losing billions of Euros to large-scale international tax dodging.

“We warmly welcome the recognition that the European Parliament needs to play an active role in EU decision making on tax. It is elected by EU citizens, and thus it can bring more legitimacy to decision making on tax. We’ve also repeatedly seen that the Parliament is very attentive to the public call for action, transparency and justice on tax matters. The latest example came today, when the Parliament adopted an ambitious new report calling for gender justice in our tax systems.

“One important aspect that we shouldn’t forget is the need for transparency. Member States’ decision making on tax is one of the most opaque and secretive areas within the whole EU – this is obviously deeply problematic. It’s a serious problem that it only takes one destructive Member State to obstruct an effective EU response to international tax dodging. But this problem gets even bigger when meetings between the Member States are held in secrecy, and the public has no chance to hold their governments to account.

“One clear challenge with the Commission’s proposal is that it will need all Member States to vote in favour of it. So the Commission is caught in a catch 22 – it takes unanimity to get rid of unanimity, and there is clearly no unanimous support for that among the Member States.”

ENDS

Media contact: Julia Ravenscroft, Communications Manager at Eurodad: +32 486356814