Anneliese questioned Commissioner Vestager over the Luxembourg leaks scandal and called for tougher action to combat tax evasion and avoidance.
Speaking in the European Parliament, Anneliese asked how the Commissioner would tackle tax evasion practices that are anti-competitive, and questioned why the European Commission was not proactive enough to deal with this rather than wait for this information to be uncovered by journalists.
The leaked documents from Luxembourg show that companies are able to get away with paying almost no tax by moving their profits away from the countries where they were generated to countries like Luxembourg with exceptionally low levels of tax. Although the investigation into the Luxembourg tax system is still ongoing, it is clear that having a tax regime that can permit companies to pay close to 0% tax is anti-competitive. Small and medium sized businesses which pay the correct rate of tax cannot compete with the large corporations which are able to avoid or evade tax. These low levels of tax therefore benefit large companies but hurt small businesses and citizens, who are forced to make up the loss of revenue by paying higher rates of tax.
Anneliese said: "Every time a company pays next to no tax in a country like Luxembourg, it is forcing citizens of other member states either to suffer higher taxes themselves, or to forego vital public services. That is morally unacceptable.
"It is clear that we will only get a genuinely competitive single market for consumers and citizens when we take bold action to tackle these tax evasion practices."