EU's Juncker faces confidence vote over Luxembourg tax row

GMT 20:00 2014 Tuesday ,18 November

Arab Today, arab today EU's Juncker faces confidence vote over Luxembourg tax row

Jean-Claude Juncker
Brussels - AFP

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker faces a confidence vote in the European Parliament next week after eurosceptics filed a motion about Luxembourg's tax breaks for global firms, but he is almost certain to survive, officials said Monday.
Italian comedian Beppe Grillo's Five Star movement and British anti-EU leader Nigel Farage's UK Independence Party attracted the necessary 76 signatures to trigger a vote with the help of French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Juncker -- who took over the European Commission, the EU's executive branch, on November 1 -- faces pressure over generous tax concessions offered to top global companies when he was prime minister of Luxembourg.
"It is intolerable that a person who has been responsible for aggressive tax avoidance policies should serve as President of the European Commission," says the so-called censure motion.
It says they have "no confidence in Mr Juncker as the President of the European Commission."
The European Parliament confirmed there would be a vote next week when the European Parliament meets in Strasbourg.
A European source said it was virtually impossible for it to pass, given that Juncker's centre-right European People's Party and European Parliament president Martin Schulz's social democrats would both oppose it.
"The vote is an exercise in self-promotion," the source said.
The motion got 44 signatures from members of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group -- which includes Five Star and UKIP -- and 32 from other parliamentarians including the extreme-right party of France's Marine Le Pen.
Five Star Movement MEP Marco Zanni, who submitted the motion, said the eurosceptic movement that made big gains in European Parliament elections in May was now a "political force to be reckoned with."
"The LuxLeaks scandal shows that Commission President Juncker in his political life has always acted to enrich his country behind its European partners, in defiance of the Union and the Community spirit he hopes to represent," he said.
UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe added: "We now hope members of other groups will get behind us to censure the Commission."


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