The centre-left appears strongly supportive of Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ahead of today’s (24 November) debate on a motion of censure against him, lodged by the National Front of Marine Le Pen, UKIP of Nigel Farage and other anti-EU MEPs.
The motion was tabled by the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group in the European Parliament, which is led by UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
It stated that Juncker, who was Luxembourg’s prime minister for two decades until a year ago, was directly responsible for tax policies which are now under investigation by the Commission for unfairly attracting multinational businesses.
But Belgian Socialist MEP Marc Tarabella called the motivation of the anti-EU MEPs “an alibi”.
He said that the real purpose of the pact between extremists Le Pen, Farage and Matteo Salvini, a non-attached MEP from Italy’s separatist Northern League, was to “topple Europe”.
Tarabaella said that the censure motion has gathered the necessary 76 signatures, with 44 MEPs of the EFDD group, and 32 non-attached members, “sealing the first alliance of those who want the end of Europe, no matter what it would cost to citizens”.
He argued that a majority of MEPs was outraged by the Luxleaks revelations, but added that “500 million Europeans should not foot the bill”.
“Multinationals cannot be above the tax laws. But it would also be unfair to revive a deep crisis for European citizens. We demand the establishment of tax harmonization, and that each member state provides the same tax for companies to avoid tax dumping,” he further stated.
‘Poachers make the best gamekeepers’
In a reference to the fact that Juncker has now been entrusted with preparing legislation to make the exchange of tax rulings compulsory, Tarabella said:
“According to the saying, poachers make the best gamekeepers. The president plays his own credibility on this issue and every mistake of his will be to the advantage of the anti-Europeans.”
Socialist sources told EURACTIV that their force was watching closely how Juncker would deliver on tax harmonisation, but also on the €300-billion investment plan he announced on 15 July, just before the Parliament confirmed him for the post of Commission President.
The centre-left group of Socialists and Democrats wants the plan beefed up, and so do the liberals. But the two groups diverge on the modalities of securing financing for re-launching investment in the 28 member bloc.
“Our support should not be taken for granted. We can withdraw it anytime”, a Socialist source said.
The censure motion debate will take place this afternoon, with the presence of Juncker and his entire team of commissioners. The vote will take place on Thursday.