Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have approved the recommendations made by the European Parliament's special committee on tax avoidance and evasion, calling for open registers of beneficial owners, effective protections for whistleblowers, and new rules for intermediaries.
On December 13, MEPs approved the recommendations made by Parliament's Special Inquiry Committee into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance, and Evasion (PANA), by 492 votes to 50 with 136 abstentions. The committee was set up in June 2015 in the wake of the publication of the so-called Panama Papers.
According to the text adopted by MEPs, the Panama Papers "have shaken citizens' trust in our financial and tax systems." MEPs stressed that it is now crucial "to restore public confidence and ensure fair and transparent tax systems and tax and social justice."
The text called upon the EU and its member states to "properly implement and reinforce their legal tools to shift from secrecy to transparency, mutual cooperation, and exchange of information, and to counter money laundering more effectively."
Among the recommendations made by the PANA committee and endorsed by MEPs were:
A major, separate recommendation made by MEPs was for a change in how EU member states decide upon tax policy. Currently, there must be unanimity among member states, but MEPs want to see that replaced by qualified majority voting in the European Council. A qualified majority needs 55 percent of member states, representing at least 65 percent of the EU's population.
Co-rapporteur Petr Jezek said: "The PANA committee investigations built on the journalists' revelations [in the Panama Papers] with the aim of keeping up momentum, scrutinizing relevant EU legislation and its implementation, and coming up with credible recommendations on how to tackle money laundering, tax avoidance, and tax evasion."
"Today, we have reached these goals. In the coming months, it will be crucial to maintain pressure as regards implementation of the recommendations and additional pressure on those governments which are still not fighting the good fight."
The report and recommendations of the PANA committee will now be passed to the European Council and Commission for their consideration.
Jordan's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation met with Luxembourg's Finance Minister to discuss enhanced cooperation between the two countries in a number of areas and agreed to seek to conclude a DTA.
Uzbekistan and Lithuania are to engage in talks towards a DTA, Uzbekistan's state news agency reported May 9, 2018.
Two Georgian committees approved the text of a DTA with Saudi Arabia and forwarded it for ratification, according to a May 17 announcement on the Georgian parliament's website.
Hong Kong gazetted an order to ratify its DTA with Saudi Arabia on May 18, 2018.
Talks are continuing on a DTA between Turkey and Afghanistan, according to a statement released by Turkey's Ministry of the Interior on May 11, 2018.
A new DTA between Finland and Spain will enter into force in January 2019, according to a May 18, 2018, announcement from the Finnish tax authority.
Andorra and Cyprus have signed a DTA, Andorra's Government announced on May 18, 2018.
Singapore and Brazil signed a DTA on May 7, 2018.
A DTA between Morocco and the Congo was signed on April 30, 2018.
The Mauritius Revenue Authority on March 19, 2018, published Government Notice No. 36 of 2018, confirming the entry into force of a Protocol updating its DTA with Barbados.
Legislation allowing for a DTA between the Netherlands and Malawi was ratified on April 30, 2018.
Switzerland and Brazil signed a DTA on May 3, 2018.
Slovakia on April 27, 2018, published Notice 123/2018 confirming the entry into force of its DTA with Ethiopia.
The Indian Government on May 7, 2018, announced that the DTA Protocol signed with Kuwait entered into force on March 26, 2018. A notice was published in India's Official Gazette on May 4, 2018.
The DTA between Slovakia and Iran became effective on May 1, 2018.
A protocol to the DTA between Russia and Sweden was signed on April 24, 2018.
Serbia and San Marino signed a DTA in Belgrade on April 16, 2018.
Kyrgyzstan and the Czech Republic agreed a draft DTA during four-day talks that ended on April 19, 2018.
Malta and Ethiopia signed a DTA on April 12, 2018.
Saudi Arabia's Cabinet on April 17, 2018, authorized the Minister of Finance to sign a DTA with Latvia.
The United Kingdom on April 24, 2018, released The Double Taxation Relief and International Tax Enforcement (Kyrgyzstan) Order 2018, which would ratify the DTA signed with Kyrgyzstan.
Latvia and Costa Rica agreed on April 13, 2018, to begin negotiations towards a DTA.
Austria's Council of Ministers on April 18, 2018, authorized negotiations on a Protocol to the DTA with Uzbekistan.
A bill was tabled in Belarus's House of Representatives on April 19, 2018, to ratify the DTA signed with the United Kingdom.
The DTA between Luxembourg and Cyprus entered into force on April 24, 2018, following its publication in Luxembourg's Official Gazette on April 20, 2018.