First discussions on PANA Committee’s Final Report

Yesterday, Monday September 11th 2017, the first shadow meeting after the presentation of political group’s amendments to PANA’s Draft Report and Recommendations was held in Strasbourg. Just to give a broad idea on the length of time that these discussions can have: political groups presented 667 amendments to the Report and 783 amendments to the Recommendations.

The PANA Committee will vote on the Report and Recommendations on October 18, and in November/ December the Recommendations will be voted in the Plenary of the European Parliament.

GUE/NGL’s shadow rapporteur, MEP Miguel Urbán Crespo (Podemos), presented the group’s priorities regarding these documents.

In a way, Miguel Urban valued that the draft Report and Recommendations as good starting points since they address in a quite complete manner most of the problems and the role of the actors affected in these matters, and they reflect most of the issues that have been treated by the PANA Inquiry Committee.

GUE/NGL’s priorities presented by Miguel Urban during yesterday’s shadow meeting were the following:

  1. EU legislation and treaties have prioritized the free movement of capital, and have encouraged tax competition in an attempt to attract foreign investment even when the effectiveness of this strategy has been greatly questioned by the reality and by several experts, e.g. the International Commission for the Reform of the International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT), and Joseph Stiglitz. Therefore, GUE/NGL proposes a review of EU legislation and the application and interpretation of the fundamental freedoms of the internal market with a view to systematically preventing instances of double non-taxation and harmful tax competition.
  2. GUE/NGL considers that it should be emphasized that the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes that is being created by the European Commission should include EU jurisdictions as well as jurisdictions with low or zero corporate taxation, and those granting special tax treatment to non-residents; and that deterrent actions should be taken against such jurisdictions, such as the cancelation of double tax treaties, and/ or the use of withholding taxes.
  3. The group values the recommendation on public country-by-country reporting, and understands that such reporting should be global, in order to enhance tax transparency and public scrutiny of multinational enterprises (MNEs).
  4. GUE/NGL recognizes and values that the co-rapporteurs request the establishment of a UN tax body, but the group suggests that such body should be democratic, empowered and financially supported to allow for a global discussion on international corporate taxation on an equal footage.
  5. Regarding the wrongly called “intermediates”, GUE/NGL proposes a different denomination, as the terms “enablers” and “promoters” of tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering, is more adjusted to their real activity, and are terms already recognized in, e.g. Ireland. On the other hand, companies should not be allowed to keep providing both auditing and tax advisory services. Accountancy firms under the same administrative control, should be considered as one group and ask for a single license throughout the EU. Moreover, sanctions should be considered that include the removal of the EU license in cases of the promotion of schemes for tax evasion and tax avoidance, as already has been suggested in the hearing on the Russian Laundromat.
  6. GUE/NGL considers that the EP’s position on the revision of the 4th AMLD should be included both in the Report and Recommendations. This means considering the need for sanctions on any breach of the AMLD and strong sanctions for serious, repeated and systematic breaches by obliged entities, including the removal of the banking license; but also, on full public access to trust and company BO registers.
  7. Regarding the European Commission’s blacklisting process of high risk jurisdictions for money laundering purposes, GUE/NGL considers that the European Commission has not complied with the delegated act. Moreover, EU jurisdictions should be considered in the listing process.
  8. That the exchange of information between FIUs should be improved, and the purpose limitation should be reviewed in order to guarantee the access to such information from the interested parties, such as tax administrations and prosecutors.
  9. That whistle-blowers who reveal information in good faith against organized crime, corruption and tax crimes must enjoy protection designed to serve the public interest.
  10. Finally, GUE/NGL suggests that in order to closely align with the parliamentary inquiry powers of Member States, the European Parliament should establish a permanent subcommittee on investigations.

 

GUE/NGL presented 129 amendments to the PANA Report and 71 amendments to the Recommendations. Therefore, several topics were left out of this brief presentation, in particular, several proposed additions to the findings of the PANA Committee regarding the origin of the problems that were exposed by the Panama Papers and during the 27 public hearings and the various studies requested by the Committee, as well as recommendations in relation to the discussions currently taking place in the European Parliament, such as the proposal for a Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) and a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB).

 

You can find here, GUE/NGL’s 129 amendments to the PANA report (in two parts):

GUENGL PANA AM to draft report-128 AM

GUENGL PANA AM to draft report-1 AM

You can find here, GUE/NGL’s 71 amendments to the PANA recommendations (in two parts):

GUENGL PANA AM to recommendations-55 AM

GUENGL PANA AM to recommendations-16 AM