This is the final update before the New Year 2015. On behalf of everyone in the team we wish you a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Large present for Juncker’s 60th
Molly joined other Greens and representatives of civil society to present EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker with a very large 60th birthday present – a million strong petition against the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty. Greens have been at the forefront of a campaign against the controversial US-EU trade deal, believing it threatens environmental and social standards and would potentially allow corporations to sue governments over laws and regulations that affect their profits. Such concerns have prompted a massive Europe-wide campaign with thousands of citizens signing petitions, organising street demonstrations, and attending public meetings. Molly says:
“I am deeply concerned about the increasingly unaccountable power of multinational corporations in European societies as well as within the EU institutions themselves. A million citizens from Europe are demanding that their voices be heard; we urge the Commission to listen.”
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The Greens are continuing their push for a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the LuxLeaks tax avoidance scandal, particularly in light of further revelations showing Luxembourg helped ‘facilitate’ well known brands such as Disney and Skype dodge paying taxes. Molly says:
“We need at least 188 MEP signatures to force an Inquiry into tax avoidance; we are 40 short. There are 20 Labour and 27 Conservative MEPs. So if they all signed up we would get our Inquiry and get tough on tax evasion in Europe. Sadly it seems that, unlike the Greens, they are not willing to match their rhetoric on cracking down on tax evasion with action.”
The Greens are also calling on Commission President Claude Jean Juncker to ‘Act or Go’ as he was prime minister of Luxembourg when the tax avoidance scam took place.
Molly supports campaign to stop live animal exports
Molly has thrown her support behind a Compassion in World Farming (CIFW) campaign to stop the export of live farm animals to countries outside the EU where they often face brutal treatment. CIWF asked all supportive MEPs to be photographed demonstrating their support for the campaign.
New tax threat to South West micro-businesses
Molly is supporting the many South West micro-businesses deeply concerned about new EU VAT regulations, due to take effect from the 1st of January. The new rules mean VAT on digital products sold in the EU will be chargeable in the place of purchase rather than the place of supply. This will mean micro-businesses will forfeit their VAT exemption threshold by doing digital business in Europe and will have to collect VAT from up to 28 different EU states at 75 different rates. Molly says:
“Greens entirely support attempts to prevent footloose multinationals avoiding paying their fair share of tax. But in this case it appears that a piece of legislation aimed at the big fish has entangled a large number of our micro-businesses in the South West and might actually threaten their viability.”
Molly believes all small businesses across Europe with an annual turnover of up to €100,000 should be exempted from VAT.
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Molly welcomes South West Group to Brussels
A group, made up of both Green Party members and non-members, visited Brussels this week to learn more about the work of the Parliament and the role of an MEP. Whilst there, some of them took part in the demonstration against TTIP to mark President Juncker’s 60th birthday. Ricky Knight, who organised the visit said:
“I’m sure I speak on behalf of all 17 of us: it was a jam-packed sensation of serious politics and inspiring democracy in action. A memorable experience and highly recommended.”