By European Parliament
Parliament’s new committee on tax matters will become “the European hub for debate on tax issues”, promises Dutch S&D member Paul Tang, the committee’s newly elected chair.
What will Parliament's new committee on taxation – FISC – be focusing on?
We’re at a critical stage. Governments are now – rightly – spending billions to save lives and livelihoods. But the debts incurred will have to be repaid. After the last crisis, we made the double mistake of austerity and increased taxes on the middle class. Only the richest remained out of shot. This time will have to be different. By looking at ways to tax those that are not paying their fair share – the richest and the big corporations – we can get out of this crisis in a fair way and maintain the trust of our citizens. Corporates alone avoid between €50 billion and €190 billion in tax each year. FISC will work to fight this injustice at the heart of our economic system. We will also work to make our tax system a force for sustainability. By using taxes to make polluters pay, we can stimulate innovation and clean up our environment.
Previously, tax committees in the Parliament have been inquiry committees, set up to look into topical scandals such as Lux Leaks and the Panama Papers. Why is it necessary to have a permanent committee?
Since I started in the European Parliament five years ago, we’ve had tax committees almost permanently. However, after they published their report, they were dissolved only to be re-established after yet another tax scandal. With this permanent committee, we can continue the valuable work of the previous committees in terms of fact-finding and raising public awareness, but we can also look at the long-term. We can, for example, engage in lasting relationships with national parliaments and other international organizations. In this way, the FISC committee will truly become the European hub for debate on tax issues.
The EU doesn't have many competencies in the area of taxation. What difference can your committee make?
As the previous taxation committees showed, much of what is going on can’t stand the light of day. By simply pushing for transparency, laying facts in the open for everyone to see, we will further push the momentum for change. Citizens demand action, and this committee will be their voice in the European arena.