This post was originally posted on Bristol's MEP, Molly Scott Cato's Facebook page. Click here to stay up-to-date with Molly's work:
With so much gloom around it’s great to be able to share news of a historic move against tax evasion and financial crimes. And Greens were instrumental in bringing this about.
This morning the economic and legal committees in the European Parliament jointly voted to support the strengthening of the anti-money-laundering directive. This is a piece of European law that requires financial and legal companies to be transparent about how rich people are moving their money from country to country. It also includes the proposal for a ‘beneficial ownership register’ meaning that rich people cannot hide their money in closed trusts so that nobody knows who benefits from what.
Some wealthy people have earned their money legitimately. But the title of the law makes clear this is about clamping down on illegal flows of money and global gangsters getting away with murder. Since much of this ‘dirty money’ is cleansed through the London property market I was delighted that a Green proposal to strengthen controls on that activity was passed.
Greens have led on this agenda. Strangely, we get really excited about these technical, legal, economic files! So much so that Green MEPs and advisors were all at the committee meeting at 8am this morning, bright as buttons, eager to start voting! Most of the Green proposals to strengthen the legislation went through, with the right wing losing the majority of votes for a change. Our legal advisor Aleksys was crouched on the floor behind me, punching the air and shouting ‘Yes!’ from time to time. Yes, really!
While checking how the different groups were voting I noticed how empty were the seats reserved for far right and even farther right MEPs. Their votes were literally in all directions and it was clear they didn’t have a clue what was going on.
This was legislation to ensure that taxes are paid so that health and social services can be properly funded. They didn’t turn up and didn’t understand how to vote. As they spend their staff budgets on people working in the constituency to destroy the EU perhaps this is not surprising. But it is deeply disappointing to the many people in the UK and across Europe who put their trust in them.