Gemma on Hello, and welcome to Plenary News, which brings you a brief oversight of the week's activities from the European Parliament right here in Strasbourg.
One trillion euros every year is lost because of tax evasion in the Member States. Just imagine how many hospitals or schools could have been built all over Europe with that money! The EPP Group has launched the fight against fraud, tax evasion and tax havens and this week presented two reports with action plans on how to tighten the rules and close the tax gap.
Gemma off In particular, the Group wants to draw up a European-wide blacklist of tax havens and increase transparency. Spokesperson Sirpa Pietikainen explained more of the proposals.
Pietikainen on It is a automatic exchange of information, it is having tax crimes as a part of money laundering crimes, it is a common corporate tax base in the Europe, it is about publish what you pay. It is about dismantling of tax privileges, it is about better administrative cooperation between our Member States and better EU regulations.
Gemma off Chairman Joseph Daul underlined the need for Member States to work together with the European Union to create strict, common rules.
Daul on Thanks to Europe, we have common policies. A Single Market. These are the fruits of shared labour. The proposals on the table for strengthening the fight against fraud and tax evasion are moving us in the right direction. They are necessary for a united Europe. We could still go a little bit faster. Tax evasion hits all Member States. We have free movement of goods and people, of services and of capital. It is therefore, logical that we also exchange fiscal information between Member States. Grace a l'Europe, nous avons des politiques communes. Un marché commun. C'est le fruit d'un travail en commun. Les propositions qui sont sur la table pour renforcer la lutte contre la fraude et l'évasion fiscales vont dans le bon sens. Elles sont nécessaires à une Europe unie. On pourrait encore aller un petit peu plus vite. L'évasion fiscale touche tous les Etats membres. Nous avons la libre circulation des biens et des personnes. Des services et des capitaux. Il est donc logique que nous ayons aussi un échange d'informations fiscales entre les Etats membres.
Gemma off The plans therefore include specific ideas for the creation of a tax information system to coordinate national practises without the intention of actually harmonising them. The reports were approved by Parliament and sent to the Commission for further development.
Gemma on Wednesday Parliament showed its support for a Single Supervisory Mechanism, designed to give the European Central Bank the responsibility of supervising the 17 Eurozone credit bodies and the power to intervene at any time.
Gemma off The proposed measures will prevent banks from over-extending themselves and protect taxpayers from having to bail them out, as the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Michel Barnier, explained.
Barnier on The creation of the Single Supervisory Mechanism ensures joint, impartial and European surveillance of banks so transnational banks that encounter problems, will no longer be solely managed by one Member State and its supervisor but subject to coordination and global oversight.
Avec la création du mécanisme unique de supervision, nous assurons une surveillance commune, impartiale et europeenne des banques. Ainsi, les banques transnationales, qui auront des problemes, ne pourront plus être gérés au seul niveau d'un Etat membre et de son superviseur, sans une approche globale et sans coordination.
Gemma off Non-Eurozone countries will have the choice to opt-in, which Parliament is keen to encourage.
Belgian EPP Group Member, Marianne Thyssen, who is responsible for the regulation says it brings us one step closer to a true Banking Union.
Thyssen on The European Parliament has been calling for a Banking Union for years, and we are therefore very glad to see REAL progress in the last few months. The European Parliament has always kept its sense of urgency in this dossier. We need rapid progress on the banking union to restore confidence; reinforce the financial sector and make it more credible; inject capital into the economy; and better protect depositors.
Gemma off Further plans for a Banking Union include a common deposit protection and a single bank resolution mechanism, which would restore confidence in the economy and protect the citizens' savings.
Gemma off Parliament hopes the Single Supervisory Mechanism will be up and running within a year but before the final vote can take place the EPP Group wants to ensure that it is 100% democratic.
Thyssen on By postponing the final vote we keep one card up our sleeve when negotiating with the Council. We want to ensure a strong inter-institutional agreement with the ECB on democratic accountability towards the European Parliament. This is of great importance for democracy. Whether it is about access for the Parliament to documents, the investigation rights of the Parliament or the power to nominate a Chair and Vice Chair, we want clear agreements on the concrete implementation of these, before we give our final vote in plenary.
Gemma on Also this week, Parliament adopted the EPP Group's resolution on the future of renewable energies. It wants renewables to be promoted in the same way across Europe.
Gemma off EPP Group Spokesperson Herbert Reul said harmonising the 170 different national promotion schemes that we currently have for renewables would make the support more efficient, save money and send the right signals to potential investors.
Reul on We have to bring a European perspective to the financial support for renewable energy...
We cannot afford to keep up such a complicated system, which drives up costs for consumers, this would alienate citizens. We have to stop and think how to make European policy for renewables more realistic. Und eine der Antworten wird mit Sicherheit sein, dass wir diese erneuerbare Energieförderung auch stärker europäisch stellen müssen. Wir können uns nicht auf Dauer erlauben, eine solche Unübersichtlichkeit, einen solchen Kostentreiber, denn das wird dazu führen, dass die Menschen, die Bürger, in Europa diesen Weg nicht mitgehen und dann hat man nichts gewonnen.
Gemma off European Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger, supported the proposals.
Oettinger on I would be in favour of a Single Energy Market for Europe and for that we need first of all the grids. We need to make sure we can develop them across borders, we need to define projects of common interest in October, we also need a - Connecting Europe - then there is the possibility of co-financing some networks in the peripheral States and we will check thoroughly what kind of State aid is really necessary. Ich bejahe einen einheitlichen europäischen Energiebinnenmarkt. Deswegen werden wir einmal die Netze grenzüberschreitend ausbauen, Projekte von gemeinsamem Interesse im Oktober festlegen – Connecting Europe – einige für die Integration von Peripheriestaaten kofinanzieren, und wir werden bei Beihilfen gründlich prüfen, welche notwendig sind.
Gemma off Mr Reul's report also laid the foundations for future discussions on the EU's energy policy after 2020. We are on schedule to achieve a 20% increase in renewable energies. The Parliament rejected the proposals this week to increase that share to 45% by 2030. Mr Reul agrees this is unrealistic and feels a 30% increase would be nearer the mark.
Reul on Calling for new targets, new figures every day is not the answer. Increasing the share of renewables will only be possible by taking into consideration the costs and prices for consumers. Der jeden Tag neue Ziele, neue Zahlen immer größer, immer mehr fordert, sondern der die Probleme benennt und sie löst. Der Ausbau, das Mehr an erneuerbaren Energien, wird nur funktionieren, wenn man auch Rücksicht nimmt auf Auswirkung, auf Kosten, auf Preise.
Gemma off He also urged Members to factor in the infrastructural challenges for storage, cross-border energy flows, and energy supply & demand. The Commission is expected to make proposals for post 2020 targets by the end of this year.
Gemma on And as always, more details can be found on our website at eppgroup.eu. Please join us again for more plenary news on 13 June, until then we'll be bringing you regular updates on the Group's activities in Brussels. Stay tuned!