June 12, 2015
At the European Parliament, the Tax Rulings committee is moving forward on Alain Lamassoure’s investigation. The Chair’s next step should be to interview the CEOs of big companies – if they agree to come over. They also plan on speaking to French Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, who has been invited to testify on the 2nd of July.
Strangely enough, the Commissioner didn’t answer the committee’s request to meet. Jean-Claude Juncker, who must have been warned (or was asked for authorisation) picked up the phone, instead. To the committee’s surprise, not only did he give a green light for his Commissioner to come over. The head of the executive also said he would come himself, and answer the questions of MEPs “as the President of the Commission”.
That means Juncker won’t testify as the former premier of Luxembourg. Amnesia must surely be a contagious disease in the Grand Duchy. The committee has been trying to reach “Mister Ruling”, Marius Kohl, on his cell phone, again and again. But the former tax chief never answers.
MEPs hope this high-level audition will motivate those concerned to come to the party.
It’s highly probable that the Commission will only come to the Parliament for a self-congratulation exercise. On June 17th, a new fiscal package is due to be announced, with measures to tackle tax evasion. A “fiscal transparency package” was already published in March. But let’s face it. The Commission has a blurry view when it comes to transparency.
In the transparency package, member states were asked to unveil tax rulings, but only between tax authorities. Citizen won’t have any access to tax information, neither NGOs, nor anyone else. MEPs should keep that in mind when listening to Juncker make promises on July 2nd.
Photograph courtesy of the EPP. Published under a Creative Commons license.Heard in Europe