Pressure on Juncker to resign from European top job

European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker urged to resign over tax break inquiry

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, is under increasing pressure to resign after allegations emerged that he helped some of the world's largest multinational companies avoid paying billions of pounds in tax while he was prime minister of Luxembourg.

Critics say that Juncker's new position as head of the body investigating the tax practices that he used to oversee is a "clear conflict of interest".

Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the cross-party public accounts committee, said Juncker should at least explain what he knew of the tax arrangements he presided over. She said: "I think he should come clean and talk about it... How can we know he's working in the interest of Europe when as prime minister in Luxembourg he has exploited populations in every European country and elsewhere for decades?"

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Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, said that the introduction of laws that turned Luxembourg into a magnet for multinationals hoping to reduce their tax bills meant the country has "a lot to do" to meet global standards, The Daily Telegraph reports.

In an editorial headed "Jean-Claude Juncker needs to go", Bloomberg said on Sunday that the president was a "bad choice for the job" who had been "foisted" on the bloc and is now facing a conflict of interest.

There is no suggestion that Juncker has done anything illegal but, according to Bloomberg, "the union is struggling to emerge from the financial crisis and is increasingly seen as elitist, meddling and incapable of producing either fairness or growth. It cannot help this effort to have it overseen by a man who spent his career as a quintessential backroom dealer while building and running an international tax haven at other European countries' expense."

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