EP to take final vote on report calling for end of passport sales schemes on Tuesday
Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 25 March 2019, 18:48Last update: about 1 day ago
The European Parliament will on Tuesday vote on a report which, among other things, calls on member states to phase out Golden Visa schemes.
The EU Parliament held the final debate on Monday evening. The report, among other things, calls on Member States to phase out all existing Citizenship by investment (CBI) and residency by investment (RBI) schemes, also known as golden visa schemes, as soon as possible. It also makes certain proposals regarding taxation. The recommendations by the TAX3 committee range from overhauling the system for dealing with financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance, notably by thoroughly improving cooperation in all areas between the multitude of authorities involved, to setting up new bodies at the EU and global level. The numerous findings and recommendations include calling on the Commission to work on a proposal for a European financial police force; to set up an EU anti-money laundering watchdog; highlights that Seven EU countries (Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and The Netherlands) display traits of a tax haven and facilitate aggressive tax planning, among other things. However there are concerns that some of the proposals could affect national sovereignty over certain taxation issues.
The Committee had previously taken a vote on the report and passed it through to Plenary.
Addressing the EU Parliament, PN MEP David Casa said that while stating that he is always at the forefront when fighting against corruption, he will use the same energy and determination against those pushing proposals to change taxation systems across Europe.
“Such proposals could be detrimental to many citizens across the EU, including those I represent,” Casa said. David Casa said that number of proposals coming from the left would limit a country’s flexibility on taking decisions on their respective taxation systems. “We cannot accept proposals that would limit national sovereignty on taxation and we will be voting against them,” he said.
MEP Casa also referred to a number of clauses in the report that call for the protection of journalists, as well as a number of recommendations on combating high level corruption. “It is our duty to defend our citizens. This is our job. It is why we must stand against corruption and abuse of power. It is why it why we must protect journalists and safeguard media freedom”.
PL MEP Alfred Sant said that reports on tax abuses need to be factual. He said the report is flawed and takes mere allegations and suspicions at face value. He spoke of a bias against smaller states in the report giving the example that the experience of Pilatus Bank is highlighted in Malta but Deutsche Bank in Germany is not, and that financial services professionals are treated like criminals in waiting. He said this follows an agenda of tax harmonisation, and said that the report is based on tax populism.
PL MEP Ana Gomes asked Sant what Malta has done to prevent the corruption in the Panama Papers and the two members still in power (Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi), and also asked what Malta has done to prevent becoming a tax haven putting in question the fight against financial crime.
“All i need to do is repeat what I read, unfortunately the report takes onboard mere allegations and suspicions at face value,” he said, highlighting unsubstantiated links to alleged crime.
The Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) was established on 1 March 2018 following continued revelations over the last five years (Luxleaks, the Panama Papers, Football leaks and the Paradise papers).