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 Full text 
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies (debate)

  Anneliese Dodds, rapporteur. Mr President, I am sorry to have again been scheduled as the first speaker. I am very much looking forward to what my co-rapporteur has to say as well, and I am grateful to colleagues for their comments. It is a shame that Mr Woolfe, Mr Carthy and Ms Tomašić have left, because the first thing I wanted to do was to correct the misconception that they stated in this Chamber. This report in no place calls for tax harmonisation or for a harmonised tax rate across Europe. It does not state that anywhere. Yet time and time again, that argument has been wheeled out to block action against tax dodging.

How on earth is it fair that some huge companies’ tax advisers are able to play off definitional ambiguities about what is taxable in different countries? That is not about competition. In fact it is barely compatible, I would say, with the single market. It certainly is not fair and it is harming small businesses right across Europe. So please, let us stop using that excuse to block action on tax dodging.

If the report is approved tomorrow, as you all know the Commission will have a year to implement its recommendations or to explain why it cannot implement those recommendations. I very much welcome what we heard today coming from the Commission. But as others have stated, much of the battle here will be with Member States. All of them say they want to do something against tax dodging, but when it comes to the detail they have been less forthcoming. I hope that colleagues will continue to support action in this area.

We do not have the luxury of years and years to procrastinate and hope for the best on this issue. We need the billions of euros that are being lost because of tax dodging now for revenues for Member States. We need a level playing field now for our small businesses, and we need a level playing field now for our constituents, many of whose tax bills have increased, while those for some large multinationals have been reduced to almost zero. We have got to rise to this policy challenge now.

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