European Parliament also urges US and UK to tackle tax avoidance

The revelations of the Pandora Papers on tax avoidance do not leave the European Parliament untouched. New laws and drastic measures must be introduced to combat tax havens. EU countries that flout the rules must be legally tackled by the European Commission.

The proposal came after a debate on the Pandora Papers. MEPs were outraged that top European politicians were found to be involved in shady business. These include Dutch minister Wopke Hoekstra and Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš.

For example, all mentioned persons from EU member states must be properly screened. The European Commission must play a leading role in this. He must see the revelations and then study whether new EU legislation is needed.

The Commission should prosecute EU countries if necessary, say the members of the European Parliament. And there should be rules against so-called 'golden residence permits' – the 'selling' of EU passports to non-EU citizens. In this way, Russian criminals have gained unimpeded access to the European system via Cyprus and Malta.

Currently, the EU works with its own blacklist to prevent tax fraud. Apparently it doesn't work enough. Parliament speaks of a 'blunt instrument' that cannot properly prosecute EU countries that have crossed the line. Furthermore, the list is incomplete. The British Virgin Islands, for example, are not listed there, while two-thirds of the shell companies in the Pandora Papers are located there.

European Union politicians named in the Pandora Papers must be held accountable for this. In addition to Hoekstra and Babiš, it concerns President Nicos Anastasiasdes of Cyprus. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Maltese European Commissioner John Dalli are also featured in the Papers.

MEP Paul Tang (PvdA) chairs the parliamentary committee on money laundering and tax fraud. "There is great anger in the European Parliament, and it shows in the resolution," he says. "We condemn EU leaders such as Babiš and Hoekstra, and call on politicians to publish their financial link to tax havens, as MEPs do."

The resolution also targets the United States and the United Kingdom. MEP Tang: “American states like South Dakota have become a secrecy haven. Through letterbox companies, criminals and untrustworthy politicians can hide their money anonymously.

Many of the UK's overseas gebieden have a similar cloaking industry, without London getting in the way. That must be over.”