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EU competition commissioner prioritises evasion fight

printer Mail

The explicit declaration by the EU’s new competition commissioner that tax evasion is a priority in her new role ‘hints at imminent progress in the European Commission’s investigation into the tax affairs of Apple, Google and Fiat’, according to Heather Self (Pinsent Masons).

Self commented on the ‘mission letter’ received by Margrethe Vestager, the Danish politician appointed to succeed Joaquin Almunia as competition commissioner from November. Vestager has been asked to consider ‘areas such as the digital single market, energy policy, financial services, industrial policy and the fight against tax evasion’ as part of her role, Self said. Vestager has also been asked to ‘keep developing an economic, as well as legal, approach to the assessment of competition issues and ... further develop market monitoring in support of the broader activities of the Commission’, according to the letter.

‘This strongly suggests that the state aid investigations into Apple, Google and Fiat will continue to be taken forward’, Self said. ‘It is likely that more details of the specific grounds for the investigations will be published shortly. Meanwhile the new tax commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, has also been tasked with “continuing the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning”.’