Source: The Press Project
MEPs Bas Eickhout, Eva Joly and Fabio de Masi demanded explanations in a letter sent yesterday following the European selection board’s demonstration of strong reluctance to combat tax avoidance in the case of Eldorado Gold, as revealed in a SOMO report published by ThePressProject. The letter is addressed to Jean-Claude Juncker and Pierre Moskovici.
According to a report entitled ‘Fool’s Gold ’ published by SOMO (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, Greece lost out on EUR 1.7 million in corporate income tax resulting from interest payments in 2012 and 2013 alone, because of tax arrangements between the Netherlands and the Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold.
This report has sparked three written questions to the Commission by Members of the European Parliament (P-005648-15, E-005544-15 and E-005210-15). We consider that the answers that the Commission has provided are insufficient and do not do justice to the seriousness of the matter raised. We consider that the vagueness and omission of certain aspects of the questions in the answers are not in line with the spirit of Article 230 TFEU.
In its answers the Commission refers to its action plan for a fairer and more efficient corporate tax system in the EU. While this action plan gives some general answers relating to the Commission’s intention to tackle the problem of corporate tax avoidance in general, many of the more specific questions related to the Eldorado case have not been answered at all.
Therefore we would urge the Commission to provide the Parliament with a precise answer to the following questions combined from these parliamentary questions:
• What is the Commission’s assessment of research published on the case of Canadian mining firm Eldorado Gold avoiding corporate taxation of its activities in Greece through the use of shell companies in the Netherlands, given that the Dutch Minister of Finance, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, is also President of the Eurogroup that is demanding sound public finances from Greece?
• Does the Commission share the view that this structure facilitates tax evasion and does it consider that this practice and thus the Dutch legal framework that allows it is in keeping with its undertaking to prioritise action to combat tax evasion and tax avoidance?
• Does the Commission consider the tax arrangements of the Dutch tax authorities with Eldorado to be problematic, in particular in the light of the urgent need for Greece to increase its tax revenues?
• Is the Commission willing to launch an in-depth investigation to check whether the decisions by the Dutch tax authorities with regard to the corporate income tax to be paid by Eldorado comply with the EU rules on state aid? If not, why not?
Bas Eickhout MEP
Eva Joly MEP
Fabio de Masi MEP