April 19th, 2012 • The European Parliament wants to see action taken against tax evasion and tax avoidance, which between them cost an estimated trillion euros per annum in lost state revenues. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong sees tackling tax dodging as a crucial part of the strategy to address the crisis. ‘It’s disgusting to see multinationals such as IKEA, the overseas Italian oil company ENI, the supposedly Greek soft drink bottler Coca-Cola HBC, and the biggest Portuguese supermarket chain Jerónimo Martins avoiding taxes by means of a Dutch postbox company’, says De Jong. ‘And all of this at a time when in Europe ordinary people are having to tighten their belts as a result of the mania for spending cuts. The strongest shoulders are now carrying the lightest loads, and that’s got to change.’
Dennis de Jong is one of the five movers of a resolution which today won an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament. The resolution contains a number of concrete proposals to address tax evasion and avoidance. ‘The Parliament wants to see a thorough reform of existing tax agreements between EU member states so that taxes can be applied at source, where a corporation in reality functions and not where it has a letter-box,’ says De Jong. ‘In addition, tax treaties between member states and tax haven countries must be immediately revised. And lastly multinationals must be open about how much they pay in taxes in a particular member state.’
Before today’s vote a debate was held yesterday on the issues involved. The European Commission and the Council promised during the debate to present concrete plans in June. The plans include mapping out the existing mesh of EU directives regarding subsidiaries, interest rates and royalties.