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European Parliament agrees to standing committee on tax transparency

26 June 2020: MEPs vote to take a stronger stance on tax fraud, evasion and avoidance.

MEPs voted by a considerable majority to formalise a subcommittee on tax matters, building on the several special committees set up since 2015 to consider the various tax leaks and scandals.

The new set-up comes after several special and inquiry committees, including TAXE (2015), TAXE2 (2016), TAXE3 (2018) and PANA (2017), launched in the aftermath of scandals such as the LuxLeaks and Panama Papers revelations.

The subcommittee, which will sit under the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, will focus on the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance while also considering issues relating to financial transparency for taxation purposes.

The permanent standing given to the subcommittee reflects the growing importance given to tax issues in the EU, which looks likely to intensify in a post-COVID-19 environment. As noted by the long-standing advocate for greater tax scrutiny, Green MEP Sven Giegold, "if the public sector spends unprecedented amounts of money today, it must also think about tomorrow's revenues."

The centre-left group leader, Iratxe García Pérez MEP, added that tax evasion and fraud deprives citizens of vital public resources, reduces the funding available to finance a green and fair recovery while also having a distortive effect on the single market.

The move comes as the EU pays increasing attention on how to raise revenues directly to fund recovery plans, including ideas for various new EU-level taxes tabled alongside the revised proposals for the EU's multi-annual budget.

Pérez will chair the committee. Details on its 30 members will be announced during a future plenary session. As a permanent body, the subcommittee will also benefit from dedicated parliamentary resources.

MEPs also approved the establishment of temporary special committees on AI, cancer and foreign interference.