Juncker hinders exposing European Union corruption

This video says about itself:

Luxembourg Tax Storm Hits New EU Chief Juncker

6 November 2014

A storm of outrage over Luxembourg’s role in helping global companies avoid tax plunged its former leader into controversy in his first week running the European Commission, the EU body that polices tax abuses.

Jean-Claude Juncker, 59, who took over as president of the EU executive after more than two decades as finance minister and prime minister of the tiny Grand Duchy, pulled out of a speaking engagement on Thursday. He repeated through a spokesman a remark made the previous day denying a conflict of interest and saying he would not hinder existing EU investigations of Luxembourg.

From The Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

Corporate Watch

Juncker cools on making register revealing firms’ true owners open to public

December 12, 2014 by Nick Mathiason

Jean-Claude Juncker appears this morning to have distanced himself from making registers setting out the true owners of companies and other legal entities accessible to journalists and NGOs in a letter sent to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism at City University in London .

The EU Commission president’s stance will spark deep unease from anti-corruption campaigners.

Juncker was responding to an appeal earlier this week by 45 investigative journalists from 23 countries urging the EU Commission president to force through the introduction of  this key transparency policy that will reveal the true identity of the owners of companies and trusts across all 28 member states.

In the letter to the Bureau, the EU Commission president wrote: “In the ongoing talks on the Commission proposals our negotiators support provisions of enhanced transparency and call for systems of access to beneficial ownership information including clarification on the possibility of access by third parties who demonstrate a justified legitimate interest.”

The statement will be seen as falling short on an outright endorsement that registers will be open to all.

The beneficial ownership policy forms part of a new Anti-Money Laundering Directive which is in the final stages of negotiations between the Commission, the Council of Ministers and MEPs. The Bureau understands drafts of compromise positions are already circulating.

Final agreement is expected on Tuesday. The beneficial ownership section of the directive was overwhelmingly passed by MEPs in March.

Earlier this week, senior investigative journalists from around the world called on Juncker, who is currently under intense pressure for his involvement in the “Lux Leaks” scandal, “to ensure the EU champions the president of the Commission to “take this critical step in the fight against corruption, which undermines the rights of people in Europe and around the world and threatens the credibility and integrity of the European market.”

But with signals suggesting the the Council of Ministers are blocking the possibility that the public can access beneficial ownership registers, Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels director of the ONE Campaign said: “It is unbelievable that amidst the outbreaks of scandals resulting from financial secrecy, the Council is trying to dilute the parliament’s call for public disclosure of who is hiding behind anonymous companies and trusts. We cannot let this historic opportunity slip by settling for anything less than full public access for anyone without exception.”

It is understood that under the measure, member states will ensure that corporate and other legal entities, that include trusts, will be required to obtain and hold “adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership”.

David Cameron has already committed to making this information publicly accessible. Denmark and the Ukraine have also committed to introduce public registers. But anti-corruption experts say for registers to be successful in combatting financial crime, as many countries as possible need to embrace the measure.

Letter From President Juncker to Mr Nick Mathiason

Fifteen years ago President Clinton deregulated the financial sector. Eight years later, the banking sector collapsed, sending the world into recession. Today, Juncker wants to get “growth and jobs” by deregulating the environment. No lessons learned? Here.

32 thoughts on “Juncker hinders exposing European Union corruption

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  20. Friday 15th April 2016

    posted by James Tweedie in World

    Green MEPs condemn ‘unnecessarily broad’ trade secrets Bill

    OPPONENTS of new European Union rules on trade secrets warned yesterday that the legislation would criminalise whistleblowers.

    The stated aim of the Trade Secrets Protection Act, which was debated by the European Parliament yesterday, is to protect EU firms from corporate espionage by foreign rivals.

    But critics said businesses could use the law to prosecute journalists and whistleblowers for exposing corporate wrongdoing.

    More than half a million people have signed a petition against it.

    According to the European Commission website, the Bill would outlaw “further disclosure of misappropriated trade secrets,” potentially preventing the publication of sensitive information.

    It would also grant companies the right to “compensation for the damages caused by the unlawful use or disclosure of the misappropriated trade secret,” meaning that businesses would be able to sue whistleblowers.

    French Republican Party MEP Constance Le Grip, a member of the conservative European People’s Party group, is leading the legislation’s progress through the parliament.

    “We have very precisely and clearly set out the exemptions for both journalists and whistleblowers,” she claimed.

    “The Panama Papers have nothing to do with this kind of matter.”

    But the Greens/European Free Alliance group of MEPs warned that the legislation’s definition of what constitutes a trade secret was “unnecessarily broad,” enabling corporations to suppress information which belongs in the public domain.

    MEP Julia Reda, the sole German Pirate Party representative, said the proposed law would “leave the door open to abuse by unscrupulous businesses across Europe.”

    She added that it creates “uncertainties about the role of whistleblowers and investigative journalists.”

    The Greens/EFA group said it would present its proposals for a directive on the protection of whistleblowers on May 4.

    War on Want spokesperson Ross Hemingway said: “The public are already in the dark when it comes to the shady tax affairs of big business. It’s a scandal that politicians want to hand more power to corporations to keep their affairs secret.

    “Criminalising whistleblowers, rather than do all that’s necessary to expose corporate crimes, is shameful. The voice of the European people must be heard on this.”



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