Hypocrisy of conservative MEPs during their visit to México

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New evidence of the hypocrisy of Conservative MEPs, the majority party in the EU Parliament, has been their recent three-day visit to Mexico Cityi.


Although the obvious political purpose has been to put pressure on the Senators and the Mexican government to accelerate negotiations for the "modernization" of the EU-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (TLCUEM), hypocritically, the main image they handled was their concern about human rights violations in Mexico.ii


However, as we pointed out in a previous note, two weeks before, they boycotted in the European Parliament an emergency resolution on the violation of human rights in Mexico with the cynical argument that "it was not the right time" because the peñanietista government is in the process of renegotiating Mexico's trade relationship with the European Union. "The best thing was not to put in that element (the resolution) because it could disturb the Mexican government."iii


A similar stance was taken to not use real pressure of the Euro-Parliament on the violation of human rights by the Mexican Government with the deaths of journalists, and of the same Democratic Clause of the TLCUEM, thus rejecting the proposal of democratic parliamentarians, as was reported by the Daily La Jornada Wednesday, 05 Apr 2017iv


When they mentioned, in Mexico, secondarily to the press, the issue of ratification of the Mexico-European Union treaty, they rhetorically insisted that "it is not only -material- trade, but it has to do with democratic aspects, respect for Human rights, to combat impunity "; but they failed to mention that two weeks earlier, on July 4, their parliamentary group had defended not the human rights but the petty interests of their transnational corporations, removing the "bite" from Parliament's resolution to combat tax evasion and the shift of profits towards tax havens carried out by transnational, European and non-European companies. And that affects many countries, including Mexico.v


The proposed official document, which was denatured by the Conservatives, recognizes that:

(-1a)  Tax avoidance and tax evasion, along with profit-shifting schemes, have deprived governments and populations of the resources necessary to, among other things, ensure that there is universal free access to public education and health services and state social services, and have deprived states of the possibility of ensuring a supply of affordable housing and public transport, and of building infrastructure that is essential in order to achieve social development and economic growth. In short, such schemes have been a factor of injustice, inequality and economic, social and territorial divergences.vi


In other words, tax elusion, and tax evasion of transnational corporations, including European ones, affect and violate the human rights observance clearly mentioned in Parliament's document. The proposal that remained as a farce - according to some democratic MEPs vii- proposed that transnational corporations with more than € 40 million in turnover should be transparent in their overall activity; and were required to report on their financial operation, profits and actual tax payments, country by country.


In Strasbourg, conservative MEPs, including those with quixotic airs visiting Mexico, distorted the final resolution. They opened up two large legal holes through which 85% of transnational companies could escape: they raised the fence or limit up to 750 million euros, and also left a "safeguard clause", or false exit, so that European companies competing directly with non-European companies may request exceptions to the disclosure of certain detailed informationviii.


Is that the real "defense" of human rights that European conservative MEPs are concerned about? Or is this a sign of their defense of the interests of European and non-European transnational corporations to which they owe their parliamentary seats?  We, the peoples on both sides of the Atlantic, demand coherence. In view of the very serious violations of human rights in Mexico (and also in Europe for example with migrants) should lead to the cancellation of the TLCUEM.


Recall that trade between Mexico and the EU countries tripled from the entry into force of the TLCUEM, from USD 21 billion in 2000 to 61.8 billion in 2016.ix However, the preliminary calculations of false invoicing, and hence of tax and capital leaks of that trade reached an annual average of almost 9 billion dollars.x


That illicit capital flight of 113 billion pesos on average is equivalent to 94% of the annual average tax collected in the same period of the manufacturing sector (which amounted to 120 billion pesos) in Mexicoxi.


Also of a similar dimension is the impact of the two large holes that conservative MEPs introduced to distort a Parliament Resolution that would have been a true contribution to human rights in the world and in Mexico in particular.


My thanks to Dr Alberto Arroyo for his valuable suggestions


Mexico City, July 20, 2017


- Dr Alejandro Villamar /RMALC




i Imagen de México al exterior, gravemente perjudicada: eurodiputados. Víctor Ballinas y Roberto Garduño |  miércoles, 19 jul 2017. http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2017/07/19/imagen-de-mexico-al-exterior-gravemente-perjudicada-eurodiputados

ii MEP Manfred Weber tweeted‏ @ManfredWeber, July 19Meeting with the Mexican President .@EPP is determined to pursue strong partnership with #Mexico going well beyond trade & based on common values. Meeting with President @EPN

iii See Marco Appel´s full report in Proceso Num 2123; pp:26 y 27. 9 de julio de 2017.


v Disclosure of income tax information by certain undertakings and branches (debate) July 4, 2017. Estrasburgo. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=CRE&reference=20170704&secondRef=ITEM-003&language=ES&ring=A8-2017-0227

vi On the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament. June 21, 2017 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A8-2017-0227&language=ES

vii Miguel Viegas (GUE/NGL) say, see Debate Op cit

viii Fighting tax avoidance without discrimination against Europeans. Estrasburg, 04.07.2017 - 13: 57 http://www.eppgroup.eu/es/press-release/Fight-tax-avoidance-with-discrimination-contain-Europeans

x No published data but enhance part of the Note “Como México No hay dos” sobre Flujos Financieros Ilícitos. 07/10/2015. http://www.alainet.org/es/articulo/172887

xi Own calculation based on official data available in SHCP Annexes public finances fourth quarter of 2002-2016. http://finanzaspublicas.hacienda.gob.mx/es/Finanzas_Publicas/Informes_al_Congreso_de_la_Union

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