Green MEP Eva Joly has been appointed to a new nonpartisan body established to propose reforms to the tax system
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Green MEP Eva Joly has been appointed to a new nonpartisan body established to propose reforms to the tax system

The Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT) is tasked with looking at possible reform from the perspective of the public interest. Its launch comes in response to widespread anger about corporate tax avoidance and its impact on inequality and poverty, and concerns that current tax reform processes are inadequate.

Nine international experts, including French deputy Joly and Joseph Stiglitz,  a Nobel Prize winning economist, will sit on the commission, with its first meeting scheduled for 18 and 19 March in New York.

The commission says a just tax system is required to tackle the contentious issue of rising inequality – an issue that many countries, both developing and developed, are currently grappling with.

It is likely to look at existing tax loopholes that companies and individuals take advantage of to lower their tax liability.

Arguing for the need for a wider debate on tax reforms the commission argues in the current system, proposals to reform the tax system are debated in technical terms so that consultations involve mainly tax advisers of multinational corporations, who have vested interests in the current system.

Joly, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s special committee on tax, said, “While fiscal policies affect all of society, the related debates have too long been considered the sole preserve of accountants and tax professionals.

“However, given the inequalities that these practices create, it is essential that the expertise be shared as widely as possible. Furthermore, unequivocal global action against these practices which have for too long deprived national budgets of vast amounts is a precondition to the success of the international negotiations on climate change and development,” said Joly, who is also a magistrate.

“I am therefore delighted to be included among the nine commissioners tasked with developing recommendations for tax reforms intended to finance the United Nation’s post-2015 development programme and contributing to the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative.”

Further comment came from Greens/EFA Co-President Philippe Lamberts, who said, “On behalf of the Greens/EFA group, I am proud to hear of Eva Joly’s appointment to the Independent Commission of tax and development experts. It is all the more remarkable since she is the only European on a panel of international experts, including the Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

“There are few people who, like Eva Joly, have had the experience of judging some of the biggest political-financial issues of the 1990s, including the Elf case.”

By Martin Banks