Question by MEPs Lídia Pereira (EPP/Portugal) and Markus Ferber (EPP/Germany)
The EU Tax Observatory is a consortium of academics, based in the Paris School of Economics, that focus their research on topics around tax avoidance, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning. Their goal is to conduct intensive investigations and present the results to EU policymakers in order to increase awareness and provide science-based information that can lead to better policy outcomes.
As we can read on the EU Tax Observatory’s website, ‘this project has received funding from the DG TAXUD [the Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union] under grant agreement No.TAXUD/2020/DE/326’(1). The Commission’s call for proposals states that ‘the Observatory should focus on corporate taxation’(2).
It is important for policymakers to benefit from independent, high-level assessments of such technical and politically sensitive matters as taxation. We highly value the observatory’s role.
1. What is the Commission’s assessment of the EU Tax Observatory’s mission statement, which does not mention its specific focus on corporate taxation?
2. How does the EU Tax Observatory guarantee independent procedures for the selection of members and research topics?
Reply by Commissioner Gentiloni
At the request of the European Parliament (“preparatory action”), the Commission created and awarded a grant for an EU Tax Observatory (EUTO), with a budget of EUR 1.2 million.
The purpose of the Observatory is to enhance the involvement of civil society in the advocacy, design and implementation of EU actions against tax abuse, and supports EU policy-making through cutting-edge research, analysis and data-sharing. The Observatory is fully independent in conducting its research, objectively informing policymakers and suggesting initiatives that could help to better tackle tax evasion, tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning. The EUTO should have a focus on corporate taxation, but is not limited to it and can cover all topics related to tax avoidance, tax evasion and aggressive tax
planning, as stipulated in the call for proposal. More broadly, it should stimulate discussion and debate amongst stakeholders and citizens on these topics via events and its website. Its first publication , published in June 2021, is focused on corporate taxation.
The EUTO guarantees its independence, non-partisanship and objectiveness through the prioritisation of publication in peer-reviewed academic journals with strict disclosure rules, a selection of professionals with a plurality of disciplinary perspectives. It is supervised by an independent Advisory Board composed of prominent experts and journalists. The EUTO is fully transparent about its funding sources and all employees of the EUTO must abide by the ethics charter of the Paris School of Economics (lead applicant). This shall ensure the intellectual and scientific integrity of all staff involved and allow for scientific research in
line with the strictest European and international standards
For other newsitems related to the EU Tax Observatory’s mandate, click HERE