Juncker leaks: GUE/NGL demands Commission President step down

GUE/NGL MEP Fabio De Masi, Vice-President of the Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) in the European Parliament, commented on revelations that Jean-Claude Juncker spent years secretly blocking EU efforts to tackle tax avoidance by multinational corporations during his tenure as Luxembourg’s prime minister and minister of finance.

“Juncker should make a new year’s resolution for the sake of Europe: he must step down,” De Masi said.

The leaked documents – published by the Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – were carefully analysed by Fabio De Masi and Green MEP Sven Giegold. They showed how Juncker led efforts during meetings of the code of conduct group on business taxation to derail action to curb aggressive tax planning and to rein in predatory tax policies.

De Masi condemned Juncker’s central role in the affair as revealed in the documents.

“The Juncker leaks show once again that the EU Commission President hindered progress in the fight against tax deals of big corporations in the EU,” he said.

“Juncker is part of the problem and not the solution. It’s absurd that millions of Europeans who have suffered from austerity policies that created social division now have the godfather of tax dumping presiding over the EU commission.

“Member states lose hundreds of billions each year in their budgets due to these tax deals. This money is needed for massive public investments.”

The Guardian reported that Luxembourg, under the leadership of Mr Juncker, opposed proposals in the code of conduct committee including:

Plans for tax authorities in each member state to subject their dealings with multinational businesses to peer review;

An investigation into cross-border tax avoidance strategies, known as “hybrid mismatches”, often used by multinationals to conjure up artificial tax savings;

Improved information sharing between member states on tax deals granted to multinationals in private.

GUE/NGL will be requesting for a plenary debate on the Juncker leaks and De Masi is pushing for the Commission President to be invited for questioning at the PANA committee.

“The Commission must free itself from the dark shadow of Mr Juncker. It must help end tax competition instead of lowering real taxes for corporations through full transparency in the country-by-country reporting and a reform of the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB),” De Masi concluded.