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Martijn Nouwen (Amsterdam Law School) will be heard as an expert on Tuesday 1 December 2020 in a hearing of the European Parliament on the European approach to tackling harmful tax practices.

The reason for the hearing is the social problem of international tax avoidance by multinational companies and the associated harmful tax competition between countries.

International approach

The pillars of citizens, politics and civil society organisations focused in particular on multinational companies. They would have to pay their 'fair share' in taxpayers' money. This, however, conceals the fact that international tax avoidance - as an international problem - should preferably, and possibly only as the only adequate solution, be dealt with on an international scale. It is only through adequate cooperation that countries can effectively tackle the tax avoidance opportunities of international companies. In practice, countries, even Member States within the European Union, have a dual agenda, as a result of which cooperation gets off the ground only sparsely.

Tax sovereignty

Member States are very reluctant to give up their tax sovereignty. They wish to use their tax systems to create an attractive tax environment for multinational companies to set up in business. Various tax scandals - including LuxLeaks and Panama Papers - have shown that Member States are willing to cooperate or even actively promote aggressive tax practices.


During the hearing, Members of the European Parliament and experts will exchange views on these harmful tax practices and how they could be addressed by existing and new EU instruments.

More information and web streaming

The session is streamed and can be followed or viewed here