The European Parliament has established a new 45-member task force to work on the EU’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings as well as investigations by the Committee of Inquiry into Money laundering, tax avoidance, and tax evasion.
The Committee will have a 12-month mandate and is mainly a response to revelations from 2017’s Paradise Papers and accusations that the European Parliament has done “too little, too late” to combat financial crime.
However, not all MEPs are happy with the creation of the new Committee. Three Maltese MEPs of the Partit Nazzjonalista, Malta’s Nationalist Party, warned the new Committee not to “waste its resources” on Malta’s tax system.
MEPs David Casa, Roberta Metsola, and Francis Zammit Dimech, said that they will never allow the EU to decide on behalf of the Maltese people on how to run the tax system. “That was, still is, and must remain, the competence of the respective governments. This committee should focus its efforts on the murder of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak, who like Daphne Caruana Galizia, was executed as he investigated financial crimes,” the MEPs said.
Most lawmakers believe that tax systems should remain a sovereign competence of the EU Member States, and most MEPs have shot down the idea of a new Committee charged with combatting financial crimes and tax evasion, particularly pertaining to Malta’s murky financial sector.
“Now that the committee has been established for a term of one year, Partit Nazzjonalista MEPs will be doing everything they can to ensure that no harm is done to Malta’s interests and instead focus on financial crimes, corruption, and abuse of power within EU institutions.”
“We will put the recent money laundering scandals in Denmark, Estonia, and Latvia at the top of the agenda. Danske Bank, the Latvian ABLV, and the national anti-money laundering authorities have to explain to the Parliament their recent failure to prevent money laundering, adding, “The European Commission, the ECB, and the European Banking Authority must explain what they will do to prevent such scandals from happening again. We will also demand full access to all documents relating to the screening of third countries for the EU’s blacklist of tax havens. The credibility of the blacklist has to be restored,” said Green MEP Sven Giegold of Germany in comments that pushed back against criticism of the new committee.
According to Giegold, a strong set of recommendations was produced by the European Parliament after the Panama Papers case went public. Those recommendations could end Europe’s tax scandals.