Brussels (Brussels Morning) The Pandora Papers published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveal flaws how the EU ‘s fights against tax evasion.
The leaked documents exposed details about the secret offshore accounts of several former and incumbent EU leaders, all of which raises uncomfortable questions, DW reports.
European Commission deputy chief spokesperson, Dana Spinant, stated that, having seen the reports in the media, “we are not in a position to make any comments on individual names or individual entities mentioned in those papers.”
The EC is believed likely to be interested in the case of John Dalli, a former European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, who stepped down in 2012 because of his involvement in a tobacco lobbying scandal. He continues to receive a pension as a former commissioner.
According to the Pandora Papers, Dalli founded a shell company in a tax haven in 2006 but never reported this to the Maltese parliament because he never used the company.
EC claims it did a lot
Following the release of the Pandora Papers, the EC asserted that it had done a lot over the last five years to combat tax avoidance. The Commission spokesperson on taxation matters, Daniel Ferrie, stated that the EC had effectively abolished banking secrecy and had cracked down on money laundering.
He noted too that the Commission plans to propose regulations to restrict shell companies, which are often used for tax avoidance, by the end of the year.
“We have driven forward a quite ambitious agenda against tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning”, Ferrie advised, pointing out that the EC now has “a framework in place with one of the highest standards in the world.”
The EU’s list of tax havens, which was introduced in 2017, currently lists just one of the countries that appear in the Pandora Papers – Panama. Several MEPs are demanding that the EU list be expanded.
MEP Sven Giegold called the EU list “hardly effective”, given that “a number of important tax havens are missing.”Promises by MEPs to crack down on tax evasion are not considered to be very convincing since some EU member states, including Cyprus and Malta, are often used as havens.