Ahead of this Thursday’s meeting of the Competitiveness Council, the Socialists and Democrats Group urges EU ministers to give the green light for negotiations with the European Parliament on public country-by-country reporting (pCBCR). In a letter initiated by S&D MEPs, European Parliament negotiators and committee chairs call on the Council to break the four year-long deadlock on the file and finally make progress in financial transparency and the fight against tax avoidance.
Evelyn Regner, S&D MEP and Parliament negotiator on the public CBCR file, said:
“Now, when governments are helping companies to get through the pandemic with public money, it has become even more important to ensure big businesses pay their fair share of taxes. Public country-by-country reporting obliges big multinationals like Apple and Amazon to disclose where they make their profits and where they pay taxes. The trust of citizens in our democracies depends on everyone contributing their fair share to the recovery. We cannot stand by whilst some big players are freeriding and getting richer at the expense of the rest.
“We urge EU ministers to finally give the green light for negotiations with the European Parliament to start. Meaningful public country-by-country reporting is a crucial tool for delivering on tax justice.”
Ibán García del Blanco, S&D MEP and Parliament negotiator on public CBCR file, said:
“For four years, we have been fighting for meaningful public country-by-country reporting, while the Council has stalled progress on corporate and tax transparency. We applaud the Portuguese presidency for putting public country-by-country reporting on the agenda and to a vote at the next Council meeting. This Thursday, EU governments will have to put their cards on the table and the public will then know who stands up for financial transparency and who protects the interests of big multinationals ditching their tax duties.
“The latest OpenLux scandal has again driven home the lesson that we urgently need meaningful financial transparency to fight tax evasion and profit shifting. This Thursday, the EU must make progress on tax and corporate transparency.”
Note for the editor:
In April 2016, the European Commission proposed legislation on corporate tax transparency, commonly referred to as public country-by-country reporting (pCBCR) for multinationals, which would require large multinational companies with an annual turnover of more than €750 million to publish an annual public report disclosing where they do business, make profits and how much they pay in taxes and other payments, for each country where they operate. This measure would complement the already existing legislation on automatic exchange of tax information and introduces accountability of the multinational to the public and all other tax payers.
In July 2017, the European Parliament adopted its mandate for the inter-institutional negotiations, so-called trilogues. Ever since, the Council is blocked by a number of countries opposing the proposal and has thus not yet reached a negotiation position. On 24 October 2019, the European Parliament passed a strong resolution urgently calling on the member states to break the deadlock within the Council and conclude their first reading on public CBCR and enter inter-institutional negotiations with Parliament. This Thursday, the Competitiveness Council could agree on a mandate and soon adopt its general approach.