Tuesday

16th Oct 2018

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.

Opinion

Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it

If my region in the Sahara were excluded, it would strongly undermine our development, with a risk of opening the door to radicalisation and undermining the stability of the whole Mediterranean region, especially with respect to security and migration.

Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive

Voters in Germany's largest state hived off to the left and right of the ruling conservatives in Sunday's elections - posing questions for Merkel's authority.

Opinion

It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations

A new treaty, to be negotiated this week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, aims to put an end to the 'organised irresponsibility' of transnational corporations on human rights and labour abuses. Time for EU to take note.

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen warms towards cooperation with Bannon
  2. Bettel set to stay in power in Luxembourg after election
  3. EU-UK Brexit deal talks paused
  4. Macedonian parliament to vote on name change Monday
  5. Swedish opposition leader gives up on forming government
  6. Commission confirms: no record of Juncker speech seminar
  7. Ukraine splits from Russian orthodox church
  8. Polish doctor wins landmark pro-life case in Norway

Magazine

Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money

The European Commission has promised greater flexibility for local authorities when it comes to delivering on-the-ground results - but it has also tied cohesion policy to the European Semester, a tool used to coordinate macroeconomic policies.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it
  2. Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive
  3. It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations
  4. Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money
  5. 'Macron vs Orban' is no quick fix for EU democracy
  6. Brexit and sanctions at EU summit This WEEK
  7. EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants
  8. EU urged to seize assets of foreign hackers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us