Sinn Féin MEPs side with far right and refuse to back corporate tax transparency rules – Hayes
Sinn Féin MEPs today took the bizarre position of refusing to vote for new EU measures to force multinationals based in the EU to publicly disclose their tax information on a country-by-country basis. Brian Hayes MEP said that the new public country-by-country rules will make Europe more tax transparent.
“Today’s vote shows that Sinn Féin has no credibility when it comes to corporate tax matters. The Parliament’s proposed rules on public country-by-country reporting are a result of compromise negotiations between the main political groups in the European Parliament.
“Instead of backing these radical tax transparency reforms, Sinn Féin MEPs sided with the likes of Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France to take their usual anti-everything position. These measures would be the first of their kind to force multinational companies which have annual turnover of over €750 million to make their tax information public.
“While we were not happy with everything contained in the final report, Fine Gael MEPs were able to vote in favour in the knowledge that this was a compromise which aims to take different political viewpoints into account. Sinn Fein MEP’s refusal to back the measures shows that all they offer is a protest vote instead of trying to work with others to come to a balanced outcome.
“This is a good step in the process for balanced tax transparency. Country-by-country reporting should be made public as long as it is fair and is in the public interest.
“What was important in the final outcome of Parliament’s position is that there is a clause which ensures that companies can get an exemption from publishing commercially sensitive information. These exemptions need to be approved by the national regulator and must be scrutinised by the European Commission before they can get approval. There are enough checks and balances to ensure that this clause is not treated as a loophole.
“There has to be a balance between public disclosure and commercial sensitivity. We cannot create rules that makes business impossible to function in Europe. We want to ensure that we keep the likes of Facebook, Google and Apple in the EU. Most of these companies have a big presence in Ireland, pay more than 80% of the totality of corporate tax collected, employ over 200,000 people – they are part of Ireland and Europe’s success story. It is a good thing that they have invested in our country and see the benefit of what we have to offer.
“We also must remember that this is only one stage of the process. The legislation still must be adopted by the Council, i.e. the Member States, and put to a final vote in Parliament and Council at a later stage.”