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Research Martijn Nouwen about secretive EU tax body revealed in media under #TheCode

Under #TheCode, European media are reporting on Martijn Nouwens’s research on the secretive EU Code of Conduct Group which is tasked with tackling harmful tax competition in Europe. The stories expose to the wider public for the first time how this diplomatic high-level working group of EU Member States has failed to tackle several forms of harmful tax competition.

Martijn Nouwen

While accusing the tax avoidance enablers from the private sector of being faster than national legislators, Martijn Nouwen’s research and the #TheCode revelations show that it is actually Member States themselves who are very creative in establishing new tax loopholes which prevents companies from having to pay their fair share of taxes.

The diplomatic EU Code of Conduct Group is notorious in Brussels for its lack of openness and transparency. Stamping meeting documents as top secret and deleting important emails, are just a few tricks employed by the EU to keep the Group operating in the dark. This is a problem because this covers up the Group’s lack of effectiveness, as well as active obstruction by both large and small Member States in agreeing on effective tax policies to ensure fair taxation.  

More than 2,500 documents formed the basis of the investigative journalism project #TheCode, and they have been shared with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) Network by Assistant Professor Martijn Nouwen. He obtained the documents using FOIA requests during his PhD research, after several years of legal tug-of-war with EU bureaucracy.

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