Finance ministers from four major European economies faced sceptical questions from MEPs on the PANA committee on their commitment to the fight against money laundering and tax avoidance.
The questions came during a briefing by Finance Ministers Wolfgang Schäuble from Germany, Paschal Donohoe of Ireland, Pier Carlo Padoan from Italy and Jeroen Dijsselbloem of The Netherlands to Committee of inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion, on Tuesday. The ministers listed the numerous legislative and other measures undertaken by their governments in the wake of the Panama Leaks.
PANA co-rapporteur, Jeppe Kofod (S&D, DK) seemed unconvinced by the declarations of the ministers and said there was a need for greater transparency and more effective cooperation in the fight against tax crimes. He raised the possibility of getting rid of the unanimity principle that dictates any EU decision in the field of taxation.
The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, came in for some tough questioning from various MEPs including co-rapporteur, Petr Jezek (ALDE, CZ) who wanted to know why Germany seemed to have had a change of heart over its promised public registry of beneficial owners.