Tax To Go gives a snapshot of the latest political and legislative developments on taxation policy at the EU level. In this week’s issue we feature (1) Panama Papers – Parliament sets up inquiry committee (2) FTT – differences remain ahead of 30 June deadline (3) Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive – Parliament adopts position before Council

François Barry
Consultant

Panama Papers – Parliament sets up inquiry committee

The European Parliament voted in favour of the creation of an inquiry committee on the Panama Papers on 8 June.

The committee is to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application by the European Commission or member states of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. The committee will be made up of 65 members and will have twelve months to present its non-legislative report.

MEP Burkhard Balz – who led the negotiations on the committee’s mandate – has announced that his political group (EPP) wants the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca and the Panama government to testify before the committee. The initiative is not unique to the EPP though, each group claiming to be at the forefront of the fight against tax avoidance. Yet, quite a few influential MEPs actually believe this committee is a waste of Parliament resources.

Besides, MEP Fabio de Masi was quick to remind the EPP, S&D, ECR and ALDE groups that they had refused to set up a similar committee on LuxLeaks in early 2015, preferring then the less obstructive TAX1 special committee. Support from the largest groups is a prerequisite for parliamentary action; but those steering the taxation debate are the smaller Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL groups – buoyed by the political pressure the Panama Papers have generated.

The MEPs who will sit on the committee will be formally appointed on 23 June. The Greens/EFA wasted no time in identifying priorities for the new committee and in electing its representatives, with little change from TAX2 committee: Sven Giegold and Eva Joly remain members; Molly Scott Cato then substitute becomes a full member; and Philippe Lamberts is replaced by Pascal Durand.

The first formal meeting of the committee will take place before the summer break.

 

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