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EU: Juncker fast-tracks tax break legislation

 |  December 2, 2014

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has vowed to fast-track legislation that would aim to curb tax breaks offered to foreign companies by EU member states, say reports.

Juncker’s announcement was made amid continuing criticism against the official, slammed by critics as having a conflict of interest in the Commission’s investigation of various member states’ tax relationships with foreign companies. Opponents say Juncker actually facilitated many of these deals while Prime Minister of Luxembourg, a position he held before joining the Commission only weeks ago.

The Commission’s economics chief Pierre Moscovici said draft legislation on the matter would be presented within months. The rules would require member stats to share information on tax deals made with foreign corporations and to increase their transparency regarding how much those companies must pay. But officials from France, Germany and Italy have all spoken out against Juncker’s plans as not going far enough to address “tax avoidance and aggressive planning.” In a letter sent to Moscovici, the finance ministers of the three nations demanded stronger, more urgent action on the matter.

Amid the backlash, the Commission’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager has taken on an investigation of the matter, as the alleged tax breaks could be considered illegal state aid and a method to give foreign corporations an unfair advantage over rivals. Juncker has vowed to stay out of Vestager’s way during the investigation so as to not influence the outcome of the case.

Full content: The Guardian

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