Eurodad reacts to allegations that French government used a corporate lobby document as the basis for their official position in EU negotiations on public country by country reporting.
Corporate tax avoidance costs countries hundreds of billions of Euros in lost tax income every year. Fighting this should be top priority for any government, not least when we’re in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis.
This morning, the French media Contexte published a news story alleging that a document, presented as the French government’s official position, was in fact based on corporate lobby document. In reaction to the story, Tove Maria Ryding, Tax Coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), said:
“We’re shocked to learn about the indications that the French government has used a corporate lobby document as the basis for the official French position. This not only suggests that the French government is being deeply biased, but is also very irresponsible. Corporate tax avoidance costs countries hundreds of billions of Euros in lost tax income every year. Fighting this should be top priority for any government, not least when we’re in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis.
Tove Maria Ryding added:
“We have known for some time that the French government is keen to prevent effective public country by country reporting, which is a key tool to prevent corporate tax avoidance. This position has been difficult to understand – especially since France used to be a champion for public country by country reporting in Europe. Close ties between corporate lobbyists and the French government could explain why France has made a U-turn when it comes to public country by country reporting.
“It is clear that some multinational corporations are fighting to stop transparency that can reveal large-scale tax avoidance. But it makes no sense for governments to help corporations protect their dirty tax secrets – especially not during a global crisis where tax income is desperately needed to fund healthcare and recovery measures. Governments must represent the people who elected them – not the corporate lobbyists who are trying to halt much needed transparency measures.
“We strongly encourage the other EU Member States to avoid falling into the same trap as the French government. What France and the corporate lobbyists have been calling for is measures that will make it difficult for citizens to see where multinational corporations are doing business and what they pay in tax in each country where they operate. The EU should ignore the French attempts to sabotage public country by country reporting, and instead move forward and adopt an ambitious directive that can help stop large-scale corporate tax avoidance."
Tove Ryding is available for comment.
Notes to editor
The European Parliament, Council and Commission are currently negotiating the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of income tax information by certain undertakings and branches, commonly known as public country by country reporting.