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EU: Juncker faces ousting amid Luxembourg tax probe

 |  November 19, 2014

A group of EU Parliament members has reportedly secured enough support to introduce a motion of censure against European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker as lawmakers continue their attack on Juncker’s alleged role in questionable Luxembourg tax deals.

As the competition arm of the Commission continues its investigation into several member states’ – including Luxembourg’s – tax relationships with foreign companies, reports emerged of heavy criticism and accusations against Juncker, who was Luxembourg’s Prime Minister conflict of interest in the case, which is probing whether tax breaks giving to foreign companies like Starbucks constitute illegal state aid.

Now, reports say a group of far-right, anti-EU MEPs have secured support for a motion of censure. Parliament must deliberate and vote on that motion; if it passes, Parliament will then vote on whether Juncker is indeed unfit for his position as head of the European Commission.

Reports say Italian former standup comedian Beppe Grillo and his Five Star movement is behind the push to oust Juncker. The group claims the political lost credibility following the so-called “Luxleaks,” during which a group of investigative reporters released a trove of documents showing billions of dollars in tax breaks offered by EU member states to foreign companies, some of which were given while Juncker was PM of Luxembourg.

The motion of censure argues that the documents show Juncker was “directly responsible” for the unfair tax breaks.

Reports say, however, that the efforts – which would be unprecedented – are unlikely to succeed. Parliament must vote with a two-thirds majority to force Juncker from office – that is, if Parliament even votes to have a vote on the matter.

But Parliament endorsed Juncker’s appointment to EC President less than one month ago, when he took up his post on November 1.

Just four days later, the Luxleaks occurred. Since, Juncker has denied knowledge of approving illegal tax breaks, and has vowed to remain out of the way of the Commission’s investigation of the matter, run by competition chief Margrethe Vestager.

Full content: Euractiv

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