Leak Shows French Govt Position on Corporate Tax Transparency Based on Draft From Corporate Lobby Group

Global Union Federation for Public Service Workers responds to leak.

The General Secretary of Public Services International Rosa Pavanelli describes today’s leak which reveals France’s position on new EU Tax reporting proposals is based on a draft prepared by MEDEF - one of France's largest corporate lobby groups - as completely unacceptable.

She said: “This is a slap in the face for millions of frontline workers who are demanding our governments increase tax transparency so corporations can no longer secretly siphon money away from public services and into offshore bank accounts.”

MEPs participating in ongoing EU negotiations over Public Country-By-Country-Reporting (PCBCR)– which could require corporations to publicly reveal where they do (or don’t) pay their taxes – received a pdf titled “FR Position on P CBCR for Triologue.”

However the metadata of this PDF reveals the document was authored by “Tania SAULNIER,” an employee of MEDEF – the French Employers body. It has been reported the document “was the subject of a consultation of several lobbies,” but that the document was in fact the French government official position.

Pavanelli said: “This appears to be yet another outrageous example of how corporations are given undue influence in writing their own rules to avoid public scrutiny of their taxes. While frontline responders face brutal conditions created by decades of underfunding, corporate interests are secretly drafting official government policy positions in an attempt to keep their tax affairs secret. What have they got to hide?”

The 2020 State of Tax Justice report revealed that offshore tax abuse costs governments over €360 billion per year – the equivalent of one nurses’ salary per second. Many workers and tax justice campaigners hoped the recent decision to step up negotiations on PCBCR at the EU level could finally lead to increased corporate tax transparency. Yet despite publicly claiming they support transparency, behind closed doors corporate lobby groups have put huge resources into undermining these measures.

Daniel Bertossa, Assistant General Secretary at PSI said "This EU initiative was launched in response to Panama papers exposing how corporations and government figures profited from tax havens. Yet it appears a corporate lobby group is now working hand in glove with the French government to water down proposals which would help address these sorts of abuses. The French Government must immediately explain what involvement MEDEF had in developing their position. This case reveals exactly why corporate tax reporting must be made public, so that public service workers and users -who pay the price for corporate tax dodging – can hold these companies to account.”

Pavanelli said: “The millions of frontline workers who have sacrificed through this crisis are calling on governments to make corporate tax reporting public so we can finally reclaim the billions flowing into offshore bank accounts and use this funding to rebuild our public services.”