EU Commission's Juncker survives but critique remains

Demands for an independent investigation into 'Lux Leaks' tax avoidance affair remain after censure vote

EU Commission's Juncker survives but critique remains

World Bulletin/News Desk

Although the European Commission's new president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has comfortably survived a no-confidence vote, demands for an independent investigation into the so-called "Lux Leaks" tax avoidance affair are continuing.

The censure motion n the EU Parliament on Thursday, which proposed Juncker should bear responsibility for Luxembourg's tax policies which lured multinational businesses with super-low tax rates during his period as prime minister in Luxembourg and step down, was voted down by 461 to 101, with 88 abstentions. 

The Christian group and Social Democrats group – as well as the Liberals, all backed Juncker.

But Social Democrats MEP Jeppe Kofod told Anadolu Agency: "The motion of no confidence was not a serious way to handle this case.

"We need an independent investigation of the 'Lux Leaks' and all the other cases on tax evasions in the EU-countries, like for instance Holland and Ireland, who are also suspected of this malpractice."

'Full trust'

"Before the results of such an investigation are ready, one cannot blame Juncker and try to overthrow the European Commission on those grounds," he said.

Manfred Weber, leader of the Christian Democrats, tweeted: “Eurosceptics voted down. Full trust in Team Juncker” just after the poll was held.

Steven Woolfe, a lawmaker for the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in the European Parliament, told Reuters that his party would keep up pressure on Juncker.

He said: "The European Parliament has voted to protect the scandal-soaked Commission president rather than to protect their own people.

"But the scandal of what Juncker did as the 'friend of big business' will not go away."

Anger in Europe

The Commission is investigating several tax schemes offered by Luxembourg to global companies to see whether they broke European Union laws.

The censure motion followed an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in early November, which accused hundreds of well-known corporations such as Pepsi, IKEA and FedEx of securing secret tax deals with Luxembourg at a time Juncker was the country's prime minister.

The reports - based on nearly 28,000 pages of leaked sensitive documents relating to more than1,000 businesses - triggered anger as it apparently showed a European Union state secretly aiding tax avoidance on a vast scale while much of Europe undergoes IMF- and government-imposed "austerity measures" including "free-market reforms" cutting public services, raising pension ages and restricting wages and salaries. 

The tax deals took place during Juncker's time as prime minister and finance minister of the country.

 

Last Mod: 27 Kasım 2014, 23:42
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