Luxembourg Leaks

Bad start for Juncker

Published on 7 November 2014 at 11:48

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It’s a “bad start for Juncker’s era”, writes Gazeta Wyborcza, as Luxembourg’s long-time serving prime minister and finance minister Jean-Claude Juncker is facing harsh criticism after the publication, on 6 November, of the “Luxleaks” journalistic investigation on the small country’s tax optimisation scheme.
According to columnist Tomasz Bielecki, the new president of the European Commission —

is facing now two considerable problems. The first is to dispel doubts about a conflict of interests. The investigation into “fiscal optimalisation” will be led by EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager from Denmark, but it will be the entire 28-member Commission that will make any decisions about fines or even the return of illegally unpaid tax by certain companies. [...] Isn’t [Juncker] afraid to be a judge in his own case? [...] Juncker’s second problem is more difficult to solve. The Luxembourger is head of an EU “government” that has been advocating austerity, or strict budget discipline, as a recipe for the crisis. When ordinary citizens and small- and medium-sized companies suffer under the restriction’s burden, international corporations together with Luxembourg juggle with tax regulations. [...] That will be difficult to swallow for Europeans, as Juncker promised the EU to be closer to people.

Headlining with “Juncker's tax haven”, Rzeczpospolita says that during his first press conference, Juncker “promised journalists he would not only to brag about some successes, but also to defend himself against any accusations”. However, these promises —

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did not stand the test of the first crisis. He didn’t meet the journalists at his daily press conference yesterday, and he cancelled his participation in another public event planed for Thursday.

In another article, Jędrzej Bielecki plainly says —

The best thing for Juncker to do would be to resign right away.

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