Facebook lobbyists face ban from European Parliament

EU committee set up to investigate aggressive tax planning concludes its report in weeks

Lobbyists representing internet company Facebook could be banned from entering the European Parliament following a request by the parliament's special committee on tax to revoke access to multinationals who refused to cooperate with the committee's inquiries.

Chairman of the committee Alain Lamassoure is expected to write to president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz requesting that multinationals, including Facebook, Philip Morris and Walmart, be banned from the parliament.

Cross-party support

The move, which was first suggested by the Green group but has since gained cross-party support, comes as the committee set up to investigate aggressive tax planning concludes its report in the coming weeks.

The committee was established this year in the wake of the Luxembourg Leaks scandal, though attempts to establish a full parliamentary inquiry into the matter were quashed.


European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and EU economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will be questioned before the committee at a hearing in Brussels.

Mr Juncker is likely to be questioned about the European Commission’s cooperation with the committee, as well as his role in tax practices adopted by Luxembourg during his time as its finance minister and prime minister.

The Luxembourg Leaks revealed that hundreds of companies had cut their tax bills through the use of tax rulings offered by the Duchy, overshadowing Mr Juncker’s first few months as European Commission president.

Common tax base

EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici is expected to outline the Commission’s efforts to clamp down on aggressive tax planning and its push towards establishing an EU-wide common corporate tax base, a proposal strongly opposed by Ireland.

Mr Moscovici has vowed to prioritise the fight against aggressive tax planning during his tenure. Taxation returned to the EU's agenda of the regular meeting of EU finance ministers last week in Luxembourg, with EU finance ministers discussing the concept of minimum effective taxation. A decision on the automatic exchange of information on tax rulings is expected to feature at the October meeting. Transparency International, a Brussels-based think-tank, has called on Mr Juncker to support legislation that would allow citizens to scrutinise the corporate taxes paid by multinational companies.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent