The four Irish EPP Group (Fine Gael) MEPs today abstained on a Committee of Inquiry report originally intended to investigate the tax avoidance activities that were revealed in the Panama papers leak in 2015.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Brian Hayes MEP said: “Our delegation fully supports all efforts to crack down on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion and we fully supported the establishment of the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on Panama Papers, which was originally set up to investigate money laundering and harmful tax practices.
“However, we cannot support any report that encroaches on Member States’ tax sovereignty or calls for minimum rates of tax to be established in the EU. The EU Treaties make it clear that corporate tax issues are first and foremost for Member States to decide upon.
“While we support most of the recommendations contained in the final Committee of Inquiry report, ultimately the report crosses the line on tax sovereignty. Calls for the full implementation of a consolidated EU tax base, calls for the abolition of the unanimity voting rule on tax matters in the European Council and calls for minimum tax rates to be imposed at EU level are not in Ireland’s interest.
“Our delegation has been very clear that companies and wealthy individuals should pay their fair share of tax. The revelations contained in the Panama papers demonstrated an organised web of financial secrecy which should not be tolerated. The best way to tackle these harmful tax practices is through international cooperation at OECD level.”