Although this initiative did not receive a majority vote by the EU Competitiveness Council (COMPET), the real story is whether a unanimous (Tax Directive, Article 115 TFEU) or majority (Accounting Directive, Article 501(1) TFEU) vote is needed.
The Legal Service of the Council of the EU concluded on 11 November 2016, that the proposal must be based on Article 115 TFEU. For the legal basis to be changed by the Council, nevertheless, unanimity is required.
Thereafter, the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, pursuant to Rule 39(3) of the Rules of Procedure, decided of its own motion, to provide an opinion on the legal basis of the proposal amending the Accounting Directive. The Committee considered that there is a link between transparency and public scrutiny. It concluded on 12 January 2017 that the proposal must be based on Article 50(1) TFEU, instead of Article 115 TFEU. This opinion contradicted legal advice given to the Council of Member States in November 2016.
This contest will continue, with possible appeals depending on whether the Accounting or Tax Directive rules will be followed. To date, several countries do not agree to public reporting, thereby other EU Members have envisioned using the Accounting Directive majority rule vote to pass this initiative.