19 Nov 2014 10:48am

Lux-leaks plague Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission (EC), is facing a vote in the European parliament to declare him unfit for the position

The proposal, spearheaded by the anti-EU Five Star Movement – an Italian group lead by former stand-up comic Beppe Grillo – and joined by others including UKIP and France’s National Front, says Juncker is unfit to lead due to allegations he turned Luxembourg into Europe’s biggest tax haven.

The Lux-leaks – a series of 28,000 documents published by the Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – show that for the 18 years Juncker served as prime minister and finance minister for Luxembourg, thousands of avoidance schemes were rubber stamped by the government.

Writing in his personal blog, Grillo said that Juncker was now “intolerable” and accused him of continuing to act in the sole interests of Luxembourg. Grillo also announced that the Five Star Movement, joined by others, would now present a “motion of censure” to demand Juncker’s resignation.

Grillo was echoing the words of Italian MEP Marco Zanni, who said that the motion of censure sent a powerful message to the EC that the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD) – a group that opposes further European integration – was an effective political force.

Zanni said, “The Lux-leaks scandal shows that Commission President Juncker in his political life has always acted to enrich his country behind its European partners, in defiance of the Union and the Community spirit he hopes to represent.

“For this reason, the Five Star Movement [has] decided to use one of the strongest powers of democratic control at the disposal of parliament - the motion of censure - to demand the resignation of the commission.”

The motion holds Juncker “directly responsible” for Luxembourg’s use of tax avoidance policies and “deplores” the fact that EU member states were denied “billions of euros in potential tax revenues as a result of aggressive corporate tax avoidance schemes in Luxembourg”.

The motion is backed by 76 MEPs, including UKIP’s Steven Woolfe who was described as “instrumental” in gathering signatories for the motion.

Woolfe said, “This motion of censure means there must now be a debate on the behaviour of President Juncker and a vote to remove the entire European Commission.

“UKIP promised at the beginning of this mandate to be ‘EU rebels with a cause’, to hold the Commission to account and this censure motion shows that we mean business.

“We now hope members of other groups will get behind us to censure the commission. This motion certainly means MEPs will have an opportunity to show their true colours and let their voters know where they stand on the actions of president Juncker.”

Oliver Griffin



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