A group of MEPs are looking to topple the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the rest of his team, using the EU’s own rules and regulations to do so.
A “motion of censure” of the Commission was spearheaded by Euro MPs from the EFDD group, whose membership includes UKIP.
The censure is regarding the ‘LuxLeaks’, a series of documents which revealed that Luxembourg was involved in tax avoidance for large multinational companies.
It has been supported by 76 members of the European Parliament, ten per cent of the total, including Marine Le Pen from the Front National. Mr Juncker and his team will be summonsed in front of Parliament and have to defend themselves against the accusations.
The motion is keen to point out the difference between avoidance and evasion, but says the Commission and the EU Institutions have constantly ignored this and treated the two as if identical.
They say it therefore follows that if they treat both as illegal and immoral then it cannot be possible to have someone as involved with tax avoidance as the leader of the Commission.
These aggressive tax avoidance schemes and agreements were approved by the tax office of Luxembourg during a period in which Jean-Claude Juncker held the office of Prime Minister of the Grand Duchy. Despite Mr Juncker’s passion for the EU and further integration, MEPs say that he and his government did not cooperate with the European Commission’s investigation into illegal tax agreements.
Italian MEP Marco Zanni from the 5 Star Movement said: “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.
“For this reason, the 5 Star Movement Europe decided to use one of the strongest powers of democratic control at the disposal of Parliament – the motion of censure – to demand the resignation of the Commission.”
Only weeks after the EFDD group was dissolved in circumstances which Co-President Nigel Farage described as ‘akin to a banana republic’. Mr Zanni added that “Submitting the motion of censure shows that the EFDD Group is a political force to be reckoned with and demonstrates we can act effectively.”
UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe who was also instrumental in gathering the required signatures said that the party was living up to its mandate to be ‘EU rebels with a cause’.
“This censure motion shows that we mean business” he said.
“We now hope members of other groups will get behind us to censure the Commission. This motion certainly means MEPs will have an opportunity to show their true colours and let their voters know where they stand on the actions of President Juncker.”