CONSERVATIVE MEP FOR SCOTLAND

EU Commission President should read Caesar’s quote- ‘my wife ought not even to be under suspicion’

13.11.2014.

Leaked documents allege that Luxembourg helped 300 international companies channel hundreds of billions of dollars through its tax regime, saving billions of euros in taxes. The European Commission is investigating the allegations, carrying out a probe of the tiny member state, famous for housing the European Court of Justice.

Here is the problem.

Who was the Prime Minister of Luxembourg whilst these tax arrangements were conducted? Jean-Claude Juncker
Who is the President of the European Commission investigating Luxembourg's tax arrangements? Jean-Claude Juncker

Mr Juncker appeared before the European Parliament yesterday, and insisted that there is no conflict of interest. Let me assure you that many baffling things happen here on a daily basis, but this assertion was breath-taking. Mr Juncker sought to deflect, flannel, obfuscate and run away from the issue by arguing that the solution was the harmonisation of tax regimes across EU member states. You have to admire his chutzpah. Turning a huge scandal, in which his fingerprints are not so much visible as still warm, into more powers for the EU?

The issue here is not taxation but appearance. It is not enough that Mr Juncker has promised not to discuss the case with the Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is investigating the tax deals.

It is recorded that Caesar divorced his wife over unproven allegations of her conduct, stating 'my wife ought not even to be under suspicion'.

Mr Juncker is under suspicion and for him to argue that there is no conflict of interest is spin of the very worst kind. I am reminded of another quote attributed to Caesar.

'Men are quick to believe that which they wish to be true'.