German MEP Sven Giegold tore into Britain for blocking an EU list of tax havens
Brussels politicians acted with fury after the UK government wielded its influence to water down proposals by eurocrats to go after nations which protect corporate fat cats.
Furious MEPs accused Britain of trying to protect its tax havens of Jersey and Guernsey after Mrs May threatened to start a tax war with the rest of Europe over Brexit.
The UK has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe and the Government has vowed to slash it even further after the decision to leave the EU, enraging leaders on the continent.
And now it has emerged that the UK, along with tax havens Luxembourg and Ireland, have moved to water down proposals by the EU Commission to crack down on tax avoidance.
Theresa May has threatened to start a tax war with the EU
Mr Giegold accused the UK of trying to protect tax havens like Jersey
The EU Council, which is made up of the 28 heads of state, has agreed to send a letter to 92 countries including the US which eurocrats have argued should be investigated in terms of their tax arrangements.
However, MEPs claim that the Council has significantly weakened the criteria by which their economies will be judged compared to recommendations from the Council in order to protect their own interests.
German MEP Sven Giegold, the Green party’s economic spokesman, raged: "It is a slap in the face of all honest European taxpayers that the UK, Ireland and Luxembourg are blocking a real blacklist with strict criteria."
It is a slap in the face of all honest European taxpayers
German MEP Sven Giegold
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He added: “The blacklist criteria discussed by the Member States are much weaker than what the Commission proposed. In particular, Britain is trying to protect its Jersey and Guernsey territories before it leaves the EU.”
Laying into the EU Council’s working group on international taxation, which meets in secret, he fumed: “It is absurd that the EU is creating a blacklist in the dark. The working group has not, since its formation in 1998, succeeded in effectively combating harmful tax practices within the EU.
“It is a bad joke that this group will now decide who is on the EU list of tax havens. Tax transparency must begin at home."
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Mr Giegold said it was “appropriate” for EU authorities to look closer at the US because some states are not transparent about their tax arrangements, adding: “The EU can no longer close its eyes for political reasons.”
Mrs May has faced intense criticism over her proposed taxation policies at home and abroad in recent weeks, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warning she wants to turn Britain into a “bargain basement economy”.
Her pledge to cut taxes for big business and start an economic conflict with the rest of the EU is also in stark contrast to her first speech on the steps of Downing Street, in which she promised to represent ordinary families and not corporate fat cats.