Finance

Minister Hoekstra is the target of EP’s call to action against letterbox companies

In a resolution calling for a thorough investigation into malpractice within the EU, Hoekstra, together with Czech Prime Minister Babis, former British Prime Minister Blair and President Anastasiades of Cyprus, was highlighted on Thursday as an example of what not to do.

‘shine against’

The European Parliament regrets that these politicians appear in the Pandora Papers because of offshore transactions and wants the authorities of the Member States concerned to ‘open appropriate investigations into illegal acts’. In order to avoid conflicts of interest, the EP demands that such financial interests be made public in future.

“Too many European politicians show up in the Pandora Papers,” said MEP Paul Tang (PvdA), who chairs the tax affairs subcommittee. “That is bad for the reputation of politicians and democracy. We therefore call on these politicians: make your financial interests public and do not wait for the next leak. Hoekstra reported his importance too late and now appears to object. you should avoid.”

Black list

The parliament also wants the European Commission to take steps against member states that do not implement agreed EU rules when it comes to combating money laundering and companies that evade or evade tax. For example, it appears that the European blacklist of tax havens ‘has not had much impact’ and that several member states have even tried to shorten the list.

“That blacklist needs to be much better. In the first instance, that is an appeal to the Commissioners, but also to the EU countries themselves because this is exactly what people expect from Europe,” Tang says. He expects the Commission to come up with a new proposal in December.

‘In the right direction’

According to Leen Paape, professor of business management at Nyenrode University, the Netherlands is now moving in the right direction when it comes to fairer taxation. “Steps are indeed being taken, such as the new withholding tax on royalties. Until recently, the Netherlands also had a political policy to lure foreign companies with special rulings: tax agreements that are not public. That is now something the Netherlands says: don’t do that anymore.”

Although, according to him, it is a process that takes years. “We are taking good steps and making progress, but it is not going fast. That is also a bit hypocritical about it: if you are too rigorous as a country, you can harm your own interests. Because you are dealing with a competitive playing field worldwide. “

Paape is therefore convinced that the European Union can be of value in the fight against tax avoidance. “Absolutely. People are often skeptical about the EU, but if we didn’t have it, the world would look a lot less beautiful from a fiscal point of view.”

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