EU member states must do more to crack down on the practice of tax avoidance, the European Parliament said on Wednesday.
The call followed an 18-month probe set up after last year’s Panama Papers scandal.
In 2016, a massive data leak by Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca put numerous politicians, athletes and celebrities in the spotlight after detailing how money was funnelled to shell companies in tax havens.
The report by the EU legislature adopted on Wednesday, has more than 200 recommendations, including an end to the bloc’s practice of agreeing tax-related issues by unanimity and the introduction of EU-wide sanctions against tax havens.
“Our conclusions are clear – the EU legislation on anti-money laundering has not been properly implemented by member states or enforced by the European Commission,’’ Socialist EU lawmaker.
“The EU is caught in a sick race to the bottom on taxation and lack of implementation of our own EU legislation,” Jeppe Kofod said.
Tax crime and avoidance practices “harm fair competition, undermine the confidence of citizens and have a serious impact on tax and fiscal policies,” said EU lawmaker, Ludek Niedermayer of the centre-right European People’s Party.
The charity Oxfam called the vote a “wake-up call’’ for governments.
“Nine out of 10 Europeans are asking for tougher rules on tax avoidance and tax havens.
“But EU governments are blocking or delaying the much-needed reforms,” said Oxfam’s Aurore Chardonnet.
The EU has attempted to tackle tax avoidance in recent years, most recently issuing a blacklist of 17 global tax havens.