The European Commission has published its recommendation that EU Member States do not grant financial support to companies with links to countries that are on the EU's list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
State aid: Commission recommends restricting aid to companies with links to tax havens
The European Commission has today recommended that Member States do not grant financial support to companies with links to countries that are on the EU's list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. Restrictions should also apply to companies that have been convicted of serious financial crimes, including, among others, financial fraud, corruption, non-payment of tax and social security obligations. The aim of today's recommendation is to provide guidance to Member States on how to set conditions to financial support that prevent the misuse of public funds and to strengthen safeguards against tax abuse throughout the EU, in line with EU laws. By coordinating restrictions on financial support, Member States would also prevent mismatches and distortions within the Single Market.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "We are in an unprecedented situation where exceptional volumes of State aid are granted to undertakings in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. Especially in this context, it is not acceptable that companies benefitting from public support engage in tax avoidance practices involving tax havens. This would be an abuse of national and EU budgets, at the expense of taxpayers and social security systems. Together with Member States, we want to make sure that this does not happen."
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for the Economy, said: "Fairness and solidarity lie at the heart of the EU's recovery efforts. We are all in this crisis together and everyone must pay their fair share of tax so that we can support and not undermine our collective efforts to recover. Those who deliberately bypass tax rules or engage in criminal activity should not benefit from the systems they are trying to circumvent. We must protect our public funds, so that they can truly support honest taxpayers across the EU."
A full press release is available online.