David Martin MEP

Labour Member of the European Parliament and one of the six MEPs representing Scotland in Brussels and Strasbourg

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Labour MEPs voted today for the EU to do more to help developing countries clamp down on tax dodging, measures which will give governments resources to improve healthcare, sanitation and education.

The report calls for the European Commission to put forward an action plan on supporting developing countries in fighting tax avoidance and evasion and setting up fairer tax systems; financial and technical assistance to developing countries; enforce country-by-country reporting for multinationals; and ensure the UN taxation committee has teeth.

Action on tax dodging will help developing countries work to towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to complete the task of the Millennium Development Goals and provide healthcare and education to all children.

Linda McAvan MEP, chair of the European Parliament development committee, told MEPs:

"A recent report from Save the Children estimates the tax lost by misinvoicing in sub Saharan Africa, in countries with the worst maternal and child mortality rates, is around $15 billion per year.

"This is enough money to plug the gap in their health budget, and to deal with childhood malnutrition. Those who dodge their tax in this way are literally robbing food out of the mouths of babes.

"To tackle this and other illicit financial flows, we need more transparency about taxes paid by multinationals.

"We need tough new accountancy rules such as country-by-country reporting, which is one clear way to ensure companies pay their fair share of tax wherever they operate, and developing countries collect this tax to use for vital public services.

"It is already used in the European banking sector and in extractive industries, so the model is there and we know need the political will to extend it further."

Anneliese Dodds MEP, Labour's European spokesperson on taxation, added:

"Tax dodging doesn't just affect businesses and citizens in Europe; it can also be devastating for countries in the developing world. The amount of unpaid tax owed to developing countries is an unbelievable $104 billion every year.

"Just imagine what that money could pay for, and the difference it could make to the lives of the poorest people in the world. That's why it is essential we take action at European level to clamp down on multinational companies not paying their fair share of tax.

"A crucial first step towards achieving that is requiring all major multinational companies to report publicly exactly where they make their profits, and where they pay their taxes."
 

EU action to help developing countries tackle tax dodging will save lives

Labour MEPs voted today for the EU to do more to help developing countries clamp down on tax dodging, measures which will give governments resources to improve healthcare, sanitation and...

Labour MEPs have condemned today's formation of a far-right Group in the European Parliament, made possible by the defection of a former UKIP MEP.

Until now, Marine Le Pen's Front National have not been able to create a political group, but with Janice Atkinson - elected as a UKIP MEP last year - joining them they reach the threshold of having MEPs from seven different countries, required to form a group.
 
The creation of a group means that they can get access to more than €17 million over the next four years, and places on parliamentary committees.
 
Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour's leader in the European Parliament, said:
 
"This is a dark day for Europe. Extremists from across the EU have laced up their boots and marched into an alliance, securing funding and power.
 
"Only last week UKIP MEPs stood up in defence of Front National to block amendments calling for greater transparency in regards to party funding - and now their former MEP Janice Atkinson sits shoulder-to-shoulder with Le Pen and her axis of hate."

Note:

The parties making up the new Europe of Nations and Freedoms Group are: Front National (France, 20 MEPs); Lega Nord (Italy, 5 MEPs); Freedom Party of Austria (Austria, 5 MEPs); Party for Freedom (Netherlands, 3 MEPs); Congress of the New Right (Poland, 2 MEPs); Vlaams Belang (Belgium, 1 MEP); and Janice Atkinson MEP (UK, ex-UKIP).

Labour MEPs condemn ex-UKIP MEP's role in formation of new far-right Group

Labour MEPs have condemned today's formation of a far-right Group in the European Parliament, made possible by the defection of a former UKIP MEP.

Labour MEPs today called on Congress to stand firm against the climate sceptics and ensure climate action is a key part of US trade deals, including the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

 

The US House of Representatives votes today on a Bill to fast track major trade deals, with Republicans tabling an amendment calling into question climate action. To make it clear Europeans demand joint efforts to tackle climate change, Glenis Willmott MEP (leader of Labour's MEPs) and Gianni Pittella MEP (leader of the Socialists and Democrats Group) have written to Congressmen calling for them to reject this proposal.

Their letter reads:

"As Members of the European Parliament, we urge our fellow legislators in the US House of Representatives to reject attempts to rule out action on global warming and climate change in trade agreements.

"Tackling climate change is essential for everybody's prosperity. As the global community prepares for the UN climate conference in Paris this December, we do not believe it is in anyone's interests to be seeking to limit or restrict the scope for international agreements to help us make progress on addressing global warming and climate change.

"This would be especially true for TTIP, where the U.S. and EU together account for over half of world trade. Our capacity for showing leadership together is enormous.

"You will be aware that the protection of the environment is a major priority for the people of Europe and the European Parliament.

"Ruling out any action to protect the planet from global warming and climate change would deal a major blow to the prospects of reaching agreement on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which the Parliament is due shortly to consider, and which we have been told should become a 'gold standard' for international trade agreements.

"We therefore urge you to consider the signals an exclusion of climate change action would send and to reject this element of the Trade Priorities and Accountability Bill. Please do get in touch if you have any questions."

 

Notes:

1. The amendment in the bi-partisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Bill before the House of Representatives adds to the Bill the proviso:

"(15) to ensure that trade agreements do not require changes to U.S. law or obligate the United  States with respect to global warming or climate change."

2. The House of Representatives starts debating the Bill today at 1000 EST (1500 BST, 1600 CET)

Labour MEPs call for climate action to be at heart of EU-US relations

Labour MEPs today called on Congress to stand firm against the climate sceptics and ensure climate action is a key part of US trade deals, including the EU-US Transatlantic Trade...


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