Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the Competitiveness Council, Socialists and Democrats call on EU governments to use the opportunity created by the willingness of the Finnish Presidency to follow calls of the European Parliament to relaunch deliberations. Corporate and tax transparency can now significantly be improved by finally agreeing on a position and giving a green light to negotiations with the European Parliament on public country-by-country-reporting (pCBCR) for the biggest multinationals operating in Europe.
S&D Group negotiator for the public CBCR file, Evelyn Regner MEP, said:
“Citizens want tax justice and they want it now. We urge member states to finally break the deadlock and work together with the European Parliament to make meaningful public country-by-country reporting a reality.
“Public country-by country reporting is a forceful weapon to fight tax evasion and profit shifting. It will not only oblige big multinationals to disclose where they make a profit and how much they pay in taxes. Ensuring corporate transparency will make it much harder for Facebook and Starbucks to shop around for the lowest tax rate, or set up over-complex structures to evade paying taxes. Citizens have a right to know where multinationals do business and make profits, who is paying a fair share of taxes and who is free-riding by not providing their contribution to our societies.”
S&D Group negotiator for the public CBCR file, Ibán García del Blanco, said:
“While the Council has stalled progress on corporate and tax transparency for more than three years, the European Parliament has proven time and again that we stand on the side of citizens. Tomorrow, EU governments will show their true colours and we will know who is committed to tax justice and who is protecting the special interests of big multinationals.
“I cannot explain to the owner of the small corner-shop or a young family why they have to pay taxes, while the big multinationals like Amazon and Google get away without paying their fair share. The trust of citizens in our democracies and the sustainability of our socio-economic model hinges on governments forcefully cracking down on tax crimes. It is high time EU governments heed their citizens’ call for 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, 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. Tomorrow the Competitiveness Council could agree on a General Approach.