Thursday

27th Jun 2019

Spain pushes for taxation debate at EU summit

  • Rajoy wants a "new code of good practice" when it comes to tax matters (Photo: .michael.newman.)

It was supposed to be all about investments and Russia, but the issue of tax avoidance is likely to creep onto the EU summit agenda on Thursday (18 December).

In the draft summit conclusions circulated among EU ambassadors on Wednesday, there is one paragraph mentioning the "urgent need to advance efforts in the fight against tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning, both at the global and EU levels."

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

EU leaders will "look forward" to the European Commission's proposal on an automatic exchange of information on tax rulings and get back to the taxation issue in June 2015.

The tax reference has been pushed by Spain, according to a letter from the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy dated 16 December and seen by EUobserver.

Rajoy wrote to EU Council chief Donald Tusk to "express [his] interest in taxation issues being given a central position in forthcoming European Council meetings."

"We all share great concern for the lack of transparency regarding administrative decisions that enable aggressive tax planning and contradict the principles of equity and alignment of taxation with economic activity and the creation of wealth," he said.

One of his suggestions is the introduction of a "European tax identification number, which will make it easier to identify taxpayers who perform cross-border transactions."

Also, that member states adhere to a "new code of good practice" which would prevent them from doing tax dumping at the detriment of other member states.

"The EU has to show its ambition. It is what its citizens - given the tax efforts demanded of them - deserve. The upcoming Ecofin and European Council meetings present an opportunity to express these goals clearly and collectively," Rajoy noted.

National diplomats on Wednesday were not expecting a big debate on the matter, but admitted that the public mood has shifted in favour of more tax transparency and harmonisation following LuxLeaks, the scandal surrounding Luxembourg's sweetheart deals with big corporations.

But Luxembourg - at the time led by the current EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker - is not the only country using such "tax rulings".

On Wednesday, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager demanded information from all 28 member states about their tax ruling practice and to list all companies that have received such tax rulings from 2010 to 2013.

"We need a full picture of the tax rulings practices in the EU to identify if and where competition in the single market is being distorted through selective tax advantages", she said in a press statement.

"We will use the information received in today's enquiry as well as the knowledge gained from our ongoing investigations to combat tax avoidance and fight for fair tax competition".

Juncker seeks to bypass vetoes on tax reform

EU commission chief Juncker has indicated he will try to bypass member states’ veto powers over fiscal issues when he proposes new laws to clamp down on tax avoidance.

EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs

The EU parliament might allow an extra 24 hours for EU heads of government to first come up with the new EU leadership names. Meanwhile, EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber is meeting Angela Merkel and AKK in Berlin for backing.

Merkel and Macron split over Weber presidency

EU heads of government have their first face-to-faces discussions after the European elections on who should lead the EU commission. They are unlikely to decide quickly - with the parliament also divided over the candidates.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU anti-trust chief 'hates' US, Trump says
  2. Finnish presidency hopes for 2050 climate target by 2020
  3. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  4. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  5. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  6. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  7. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  8. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us