European Parliament discusses Panama Papers

Tuesday, 12 April

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  1. 11.5 million leaked documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca provide detailed information about more than 214,000 offshore companies used by politicians, businessmen, criminals and public figures to hide their wealth from public scrutiny.
  2. The European Parliament, in the presence of Commission and Council representatives, discussed the issue during a plenary debate on Tuesday, 12 April, 2016 - the key question being whether or not the existing measures against tax evasion and money laundering are effective. Watch back on the debate.
  3. Coverage

  4. Our Storify coverage brings you the statements from the first round of speakers (latest updates at the bottom).
  5. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, on behalf of the Council

  6. "Action needs to focus on two policy strengths, firstly access to information and secondly measures that can be applied to remedy cases of fraud. The Commission anti-tax avoidance package provides an important basis for implementing internationally agreed standards in binding EU law."
  7. "As regards access to information, internationally agreed standards on transparency and exchange of information have been developed by the OECD. Significant progress has been made in recent years however not all international players have totally committed to playing a fair game."
  8. "In order to ensure tax transparency we need everyone on board and the EU as a major international player must speak with one voice to convince its partners on the international stage to adopt the standards agreed by the majority."
  9. "The Presidency is striving to react swiftly to the Commission's proposals during this semester, specifically in light of the Panama Papers, and we hope we can count on Parliament's support."
  10. "Money laundering, which is closely linked with terrorist financing, is also very high on our agenda. We know our sense of urgency is shared by the Commission which is working hard on this matter and we do hope it is also shared by the European Parliament."
  11. "The Presidency has decided to put the so-called Panama Papers issue on the agenda of the informal Ecofin meeting on 22 April."
  12. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Taxation

  13. "The Panama Papers scandal increased the legitimacy of our campaign to fight money laundering and tax fraud. The EU needs to seize this political opportunity and act to tackle tax evasion, tax fraud, aggressive tax planning and money laundering."
  14. "Given the scale of the harm, it's understandable that EU citizens say this behaviour cannot be accepted. We need to step up cooperation with international partners to put pressure on tax havens, so that we have a fairer tax regime worldwide," said Moscovici.
  15. A pan-European blacklist of tax havens should be established quickly, he added, emphasising that the Panama Papers scandal is a wake-up call to member states.
  16. With respect to true ownership of trusts and clear information of ownership, the decisions are basically up to member states, Moscovici said. "I hope member states will realise they shouldn't be overcautious."
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