22 Mar Grand coalition rears ugly head to scupper fight for tax justice
Photo Ryan Morrison on Flickr
GUE/NGL has been stripped of its Vice-Chair position in the newly-created TAX3 Committee due to another Grand coalition stitch-up in the European Parliament.
When the mandate was agreed to set up this special committee to investigate tax evasion and financial crimes, GUE/NGL was set to secure Matt Carthy as a committee Vice-Chair.
But instead of giving a voice to the likes of GUE/NGL in helping to steer the direction of the debates and investigations, the grand coalition of the EPP and S&D groups unilaterally took over two of the Vice-Chairs.
Petr Ježek (ALDE) will be the Chair of the Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3), elected on 22 March 2018. During its constituent meeting, the Special Committee has also elected its Vice-Chairs: Roberts Zīle (ECR), Eva Joly (Greens/EFA), Esther De Lange (EPP) and Ana Gomes (S&D). EPP and S&D will also be holding the positions of co-rapporteurs, thus holding two roles (vice-chair plus co-rapporteur), something that had been agreed would not happen, in order to continue with the framework of the previous committees (PANA, TAXE2 and TAXE).
Matt Carthy (Sinn Féin, Ireland) is extremely disappointed with the outcome:
“The move to strip GUE/NGL of a Vice-Chair in the TAX3 committee is outrageous and sets a dangerous precedent. The d’Hondt system is supposed to ensure that the diversity of opinions are represented in the positions of the European Parliament and its committees, but the two largest groups chose to ignore this longstanding system.”
“This is another indication of the failure of the European Parliament to defend democracy and diversity of opinions to the benefit of the ‘grand coalition’,” he pointed out.
GUE/NGL’s Miguel Urbán (Podemos, Spain) is scathing about the situation:
“Once again, we have seen the grand coalition at work in the European Parliament – this time to stop GUE/NGL from having a Vice-Chair as had been the case with previous committees on tax issues.”
“The EPP and the S&D wanted extra seats high up in the special committee, and have now sacrificed plurality for the sake of getting more power. They clearly have an interest in gaining full control of the committee’s bureau,” he said.
Marisa Matias (Bloco de Esquerda, Portugal) also reacted with anger:
“The vote today showed that agreements and democratic representation have no value for the EPP and S&D.”
“It’s outrageous how contemptuous the main political bloc treats the representative role of the Parliament by taking over all of the powerful positions and silencing the voice of the smaller parties,” she said.
For GUE/NGL’s TAX3 coordinator Martin Schirdewan (DIE LINKE., Germany), this is nothing short of a betrayal by the new S&D presidency:
“This is an extremely disappointing indication of the direction of the S&D group under their new presidency. We put forward an excellent candidate in Matt Carthy, who had the support of the majority of political groups until a last-minute deal struck last night between the so-called grand coalition of the EPP and S&D.
“The S&D had publicly pledged to move further to the left and to work more collaboratively with other progressive forces in the European Parliament. But in their first move under this new presidency, the S&D has forcefully denied GUE/NGL a formal position on this very important special committee.”
“This is a clear violation of the democratic rights of our group. Despite the S&D’s recent claims about wanting to work with the left, this is another indication of Germany’s GroKo politics taking over the European Parliament,” he argued.