MEPs unanimously expressed indignation and disgust at the Pandora Papers revelations and criticised governments’ woefully inadequate response for over a decade.
Speaking during a debate in plenary with representatives of the Council and the Commission just days after the leaks were published, the latest in a long series of investigative works documenting tax avoidance and tax evasion, MEPs denounced EU governments for allowing taxes to be dodged en masse due to their inability to properly reform outdated tax laws.
Although a few speakers did point to the limited progress made in improving EU laws, they too joined the rest of the MEPs in accusing member state governments and the Commission of doing far too little for far too long to close loopholes that have been known for a long time.
In particular, MEPs pointed out the irony of finance ministers choosing to remove countries from the EU’s already unambitious black list of tax havens in the same week that the Pandora Papers came to light. In their view, this proved how unfit this list was, and how urgently the process to compile it needs to be updated.
They also stressed that an international agreement on business taxation must be urgently concluded and quickly translated into EU law. Finally, many MEPs pointed out the conflict of interest that high-level politicians mentioned in the Pandora Papers, such as EU ministers or heads of state, are facing, as they also sit in the fora that are meant to tackle tax evasion and tax avoidance.