Oxfam reaction to Pierre Moscovici’s hearing at European Parliament


2014-05-23_BlogOn 2 October, France’s Pierre Moscovici (pictured), European commissioner-designate for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, faced a hearing at the European Parliament to assess his suitability for the job.

Oxfam’s Deputy Director of Advocacy & Campaigns Natalia Alonso said: “Mr. Moscovici made an impassioned promise to promote European interests in economic and tax matters.  We are pleased to see he supports the allocation of some revenues from the future financial transactions tax – hopefully as broad as possible in scope -to fighting poverty and climate change.

“He highlighted several times the importance of fighting tax evasion and avoidance, as well as increasing tax transparency. Despite this, Mr. Moscovici failed to support a concrete proposal on greater transparency for multinational companies – such as Apple and Starbucks  to shed light on whether they ‘disappear’ their profits offshore to pay low or no taxes.

“We welcome Mr. Moscovici’s commitment to give the European Union a stronger voice in international tax initiatives, such as the G20’s promotion of better global tax rules that would encourage growth and increase employment. But the European Union needs to ensure that these new rules will also benefit developing countries, which are currently not at the negotiating table. The fight against tax dodging is a global one, and the European Union should start by making sure that it’s tax policies do not hamper poor countries from raising the money they vitally need to fight poverty and inequality.”

·        11 European countries agreed in May 2014 to create a European financial transaction tax by 1st of January 2016. Negotiations among the EU-11 are stalled on the scale of the tax, and the type of financial products to be included. Many civil society organizations have campaigned to ensure that part of these revenues will be allocated to European and international solidarity, like financing public services in Europe, and climate change and health in developing countries.
·        In June last year, the EU adopted legislation that will oblige banks and extractive companies (oil, mining, gas and forestry) to release information about where they work and where they pay their taxes. Oxfam is calling on the European Union to apply the same reporting standards as for banks – the so called country-by-country reporting (CBCR) – to all sectors. Click here to read the European Parliament report on tax evasion, May 2013, calling for public country-by-country reporting (CBCR).
·        The G20 mandated the OECD to deliver an action plan on corporate abuses of international tax rules that lead to ‘base erosion and profit shifting’ (the BEPS agenda). While Oxfam welcomes the political will to reform a broken international tax system, we are afraid that developing countries will not benefit from the current reform as they are not associated and cannot address their priorities for reform (Oxfam report Business among Friends).


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