In its economic recommendations to member states, presented in Brussels, the European executive recommends that these countries “continue their efforts” against these practices, deemed “harmful to our economies and our societies” by the European Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. “There is more progress in some countries, especially the Netherlands and Ireland. Everywhere we want to encourage it,” he said at a press conference.
For the European Commission, aggressive tax optimization “reduces national revenues, disrupts fair competition and has a negative impact on growth”. The countries concerned all belong to the euro zone, with the exception of Hungary. The tax agreements that some of them have with multinationals have already been the subject of investigations by the Commission, which in some cases ordered them to recover the “undue tax advantages” they had granted. .
This is the case for example of Ireland, to which Brussels asked in August 2016 to recover 13 billion euros from Apple. Luxembourg or the Netherlands have also been recently convicted or have been the subject of investigations. For several months, the EU has been stepping up initiatives to put an end to the aggressive tax practices of multinationals, in particular the digital giants. It regularly updates a blacklist of tax havens, criticized by NGOs because it does not include any European country.