Green MEP Accuses UK Commissioner of Muddying Waters over Tax Transparency

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato has accused UK Commissioner Jonathan Hill of blocking a plan to require greater tax transparency from multinational companies across the European Union.

Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, who is responsible for tax affairs, wants to require the free exchange of information on tax deals made in the EU, so requiring companies to make tax rulings public. But German newspaper Handelsblatt is reporting the proposal is facing fierce resistance from Commissioner Hill [1], who claims that this would be a violation of data protection rules.

Molly Scott Cato, who is Green Party speaker on finance and the Green Group’s representative on the European Parliament’s Tax Working Group, said:

“As a Green I voted against Jonathan Hill becoming Commissioner for Financial Markets precisely because I thought these sorts of conflicts of interest might arise. If we are to resolve the question of tax competition and ensure that corporations pay their fair share then transparency is essential. It appears that, whatever the politicians in the UK are saying, Commissioner Hill is working hard in Brussels to ensure that such transparency will not be required at the EU level.”

Following the Green Group’s successful campaign for the Parliament to formally investigate sweetheart tax deals, the Commission is internally divided about how best to proceed [1]. Jonathan Hill, who controversially became the Commissioner for Financial Stability and Financial Markets last autumn after an unprecedented second hearing at the European Parliament, now stands accused of blocking attempts to achieve greater transparency in tax matters across the European Union.


[1] The Greens have been working to extend the requirement for companies to report their profits ‘country by country’ beyond the financial sector to all sectors following the Luxleaks and now Swissleaks scandals. The proposal for a special committee to investigate the illegal tax rulings, set up in response to their campaign for a parliamentary inquiry, will be voted on by MEPs this Thursday, 12th February.