Saturday

23rd Feb 2019

Netherlands causes Greece to miss out on €1.7m in tax, says report

  • A Canadian gold company has avoided paying taxes in Greece thanks to the Netherlands, a report said (Photo: BullionVault)

The Netherlands' tax regime is enabling a Canadian gold mining company to pay less tax in Greece, a report by a Dutch foundation concluded Monday (30 March).

The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations found that Greece has missed out on at least €1.7 million in tax revenues, because the company, Eldorado Gold, profited from the Dutch tax rules.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The report comes as the Greek government is under pressure from countries like the Netherlands to increase its tax collection to meet its cash shortage.

Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who also leads the group of eurozone finance ministers, has repeatedly stated that Greece should improve its method of collecting taxes, an irony which was not lost on the authors of the report, Fool's Gold.

“While Greece’s failure to levy taxes due from certain professions and low tax morale are certainly a problem for resource mobilisation, the public debate in Greece, and that led by the EU and IMF, has primarily focused on wealthy individuals and particular segments of the population that were granted preferential treatment. Tax avoidance by large and often foreign companies … has been largely excluded in public and policy discussions. Incidentally this tax avoidance is facilitated by EU member states such as the Netherlands and Luxembourg”.

According to the researchers, “tax avoidance using legal yet aggressive tax planning methods is widespread in Greece”.

Eldorado Gold has 12 subsidiary companies in the Netherlands, with almost €2 billion in assets. However, only one of those subsidiaries has any employees (three).

While tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance is not. However, the practice is under renewed scrutiny since last year, when a trove of leaked documents showed how widespread the practice was in Luxembourg, which like other countries concluded tax rulings which benefited multinationals.

The European Parliament has set up a special committee to investigate these tax rulings. On Monday it will hold an exchange of views with EU tax commissioner Pierre Moscovici.

The NGO urges policymakers “to take political and policy steps to coordinate better and implement binding legislation to end tax base erosion and profit shifting by large multinationals”.

A Dutch MP from the Socialist Party told Dutch newspaper NRC the practice “has to stop”.

“Greece needs the EU to get its tax collection in order. A member state like the Netherlands should not help multinationals do the opposite”, said Arnold Merkies.

EU proposes new tax transparency rules

Peer pressure will underpin a new European Commission proposal to make big companies pay their fair share of tax and prevent governments from cheating others out of taxable revenue streams.

Agenda

Brexit and Orban in spotlight This WEEK

As EU leaders gather in Egypt to discuss migration with Arab leaders, UK leader Theresa May will lobby them to agree to a revised Brexit deal.

News in Brief

  1. May to meet Tusk on Sunday at Arab summit
  2. Report: Russia offered Italy's Salvini €3m for EU election
  3. EU and US could 'quickly' clinch mini-trade pact
  4. Belgium to gather evidence on Syria 'foreign fighters'
  5. Dozens of Tory and Labour MPs threatening to quit over Brexit
  6. UK will struggle on free-trade deals, EU says
  7. Juncker pledges climate action alongside Swedish activist
  8. Swedbank brings in external help on money laundering revelations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Brexit and Orban in spotlight This WEEK
  2. Swedish activist urges EU to double climate goals
  3. EP budget chair seeks clarity on Saudi lobbying and College of Europe
  4. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  5. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  6. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  7. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  8. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us