What are the real targets of EU’s efforts to fight tax evasion?

Statement by Algirdas Šemeta, Member of the EC in charge of Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud on the setting up by the EC of a platform for tax good governance, (EC Audiovisual Services, 23/04/2013).

Statement by Algirdas Šemeta, Member of the EC in charge of Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud on the setting up by the EC of a platform for tax good governance, (EC Audiovisual Services, 23/04/2013).

Algirdas Šemeta, the European Commissioner responsible for Taxation Audit and Anti-fraud announced yesterday in very low tones the creation of a new consultative committee in Brussels, under the name of “tax good governance platform”. This was a very disproportionate outcome, after the widely advertised Commission’s initiative to crack down on tax evasion in the European Union, estimated roughly at €1 trillion yearly. Incidentally some ten days ago the issue had been exposed as a cover up operation for other unspoken plans, drafted by the EU’s big shots. But let’s start the story from the beginning.

Many people in Brussels still have the shivers remembering the aggressive comments by the Austrian minister of Finance, Maria Fekter, who said very loudly that the British economy is a very large money laundering machine. In this way she set on fire the informal but very important meetings of the Ecofin and the Eurogroup councils, organised in the Dublin Castle the weekend before last. On the agenda of both bodies was written that the EU should start a crusade against tax evasion, and the whole affair had to start from the dismantling of national legislation protecting banking secrecy in certain EU countries.

Focus on Austria

In this field Austria is supposed to be a champion, having very strict such laws. As if everybody belonged to the same secret collusion many important EU ministers of Finance, like the French Pierre Moscovici, kept pointed a finger to Vienna demanding a generous relaxation of the country’s bank secrecy laws. And this, despite the fact that Austria doesn’t have a reputation of being a tax haven or offering money laundering in its banking sector.

This enraged Fekter and being herself an outspoken person she did what she did. In reality she exposed the Commission’s widely advertised anti tax evasion initiative, as being an undercover operation organised by the three big European powers Germany, France and Britain. Their target ostensibly being to close down the peripheral tax havens and money laundering centres operating within the EU, like Cyprus, Luxemburg and Vienna in order to attract the “business” to London, Paris and Frankfurt. Pressures from the US and the EU have already thought Switzerland that the easy money its bankers were making belongs to the past. Today this country cooperates closely with the American judicial and the tax authorities. Soon it will be Berlin and Paris to ask the same treatment from the Swiss bankers and they will get it.

The instrument

In any case the EU Commission continues to promote its plan to curb tax evasion in the EU with or without hidden targets. To this effect Šemeta issued yesterday an announcement describing the duties and the mandate of this tax governance platform. According to the relevant press release: “The Platform for Tax Good Governance … will be made up of around 45 members: a high level delegate from each Member State’s tax authority and up to 15 non-governmental representatives. The latter will be appointed by the Commission… The Platform will follow in particular the progress being made on two Recommendations linked to this Action Plan.
*The first Recommendation foresees a strong EU stance against tax havens, going beyond the current international measures. Using common criteria, Member States are encouraged to identify tax havens and place them on national blacklists.
*The second Recommendation is on Aggressive Tax Planning. It sets out ways to block off opportunities exploited by companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax. These include reinforcing the anti-abuse provisions in bilateral tax treaties, national legislation and EU corporate legislation. Any artificial arrangement carried out for tax avoidance purposes would be ignored and companies would be taxed instead on the basis of actual economic substance”.

False international aspirations

The Commission also notes that the “Platform” will seek cooperation with the EU’s international partners in the G8, G20 and the OECD countries. The problem is however that in those organisations the US and Britain are very powerful and can veto whatever the EU recommends if they don’t like it. In reality the US and Britain would never agree to truly binding procedures to curb tax evasion. For one thing London’s and the New York’s financial centres traditionally attract black money from all over the world. It’s the blood in their veins.

On top of that both countries have created tax havens within their territories, like the British Channel Islands and the State of Delaware in the US. In no way the US and the U.K. would ever take seriously what Brussels have to say about tax evasion and money laundering. Their only worry is to block the money related to whoever is  their enemy at the time like Iran, Al Quaida and the government of Syria presently and God knows who tomorrow. Let alone other countries and territories like Hong Kong under Chinese jurisdiction, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Liechtenstein, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles, Panama and elsewhere in the globe.

In short it’s more than certain that the EU Commission would have never seriously expected effective cooperation to fight tax evasion and money laundering in the context of the G8, G20 and the OECD. Words yes concrete acts never. Then why the Commission insists in this direction? The answer lies in the quote from the above announcement where it is clearly stated that, “The first Recommendation (to this committee) foresees a strong EU stance against tax havens”. Understandably the internal EU tax havens and money laundering holes will be the first and only target of all those Commission efforts. But can Britain or any other from the big EU fish be the target? Obviously no.

Control or destroy the small

In view of that there is no doubt that what Fekter denounced has not being taken back but it progresses taciturnly in ways the Commission knows very well. After Cyprus it will be Luxembourg, then Austria and Slovenia and so on. Yes at the end there will remain only London, Paris and Frankfurt to do the dirty job but not with peanuts and under political and otherwise control. As for the rest of the world, Brussels could never touch the tax haven and money laundering centres around the globe. Nor is this its real target.

All in all the political clout that Germany, France and Britain have on the EU will be soon translated into direct financial control. Vienna and Luxembourg may escape destruction only if they cooperate and become simple agents working for the big ones. The European banking union and the consolidated supervision by the ECB will make sure that only the big fish will be able to have it their own way.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Do all you can to resolve climate change ‘sticking points’ UN chief urges South-East Asian leaders, in Bali

This project is turning abandoned fishing gear into volleyball nets

‘Laser-sharp focus’ needed to achieve Global Goals by 2030, UN political forum told

Guterres appeals for ‘maximum restraint’ over Jammu and Kashmir, as tensions rise

Germany to re-invent its security position in Europe and a chaotic world

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

Iran nuclear talks’ deadline extended: the match is still open for many

Autonomous weapons that kill must be banned, insists UN chief

Japan should reform retirement policies to meet challenge of ageing workforce

Will the EU ever tackle the migration crisis despite the lack of political will?

In aftermath of Libya airstrike deaths, UN officials call for refugees and migrants to be freed from detention

The remote doctor, can it ever work?

Scientists have created the world’s ‘first psychopath AI’

European Parliament approves more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules

This plastic drinks bottle is made from plants

ECB’s unconventional monetary measures give first tangible results

On the detention of children in the United States of America

What the buoyant US economy means for the rest of the world

Why the ECB had to clarify it caters for the entire Eurozone not just Germany?

New report says better metrics could have prompted stronger response to the crisis

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

Direction Wakanda: finance methods to make Africa a superhero continent

Costa Rica is one of the world’s happiest countries. Here’s what it does differently

Europe moulds global defense and security chart given US new inward vision

Why poorer people suffer more from climate change

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

The Europeans with a job diminish dangerously

Suffering of thousands of war-affected Syrian children ‘unprecedented and unacceptable’

After the Italian ‘no’ and the Brexit, Germans must decide which Europe they want

‘Passport to dignity’ that schools represent may expire fast, without emergency funding warns UN Palestine refugee agency

Opposite cultures: Should it be a problem?

EU adopts retaliative measures in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs

FROM THE FIELD: Murals help heal wounds of bloody conflict in Guatemala

Promoting Health in the Brazilian Amazon: one nation but many cultures

Not much of a help the new EU Directive on pensions

World Pride underscores that all people are born ‘free and equal’ in dignity and human rights

New UN Global Climate report ‘another strong wake-up call’ over global warming: Guterres

A new arrangement between Eurozone’s haves and have-nots

UN chief urges Hamas and Israel to ‘step back from the brink of another devastating conflict’ in Gaza

China’s Ambassador to the EU Zhang Ming wishes to Brussels a Happy 2019 Year of the Pig

Ending use of chemical weapons in Syria: ‘still work to be done’, says UN disarmament chief

Happens now in Brussels: Green Week sets the EU and global climate policy agenda

To all far-right partisans who exploit Charlie Hebdo atrocity: a peaceful reply given by a peaceful student

The inhumane face of crisis mirrored in numbers

Digital distrust: We’re losing faith in technology to solve the world’s problems

While EU Open Days 2013 discuss the 2020 strategy, Microsoft shares a glimpse of EU 2060

Migration: Better travel safe than sorry

Sanctions on Russia to be the biggest unity test at this European Council

‘12 million’ stateless people globally, warns UNHCR chief in call to States for decisive action

Access to healthcare: what do we lack?

Are the G20 leaders ready to curb corporate tax-avoidance?

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

The cuts on 2014 Budget will divide deeply the EU

Improvements to pension systems have made them better placed to deliver pensions

Parliament proposes policy toolbox to curb air pollution

‘Good enough’ global cooperation is key to our survival

In Rome you can swap plastic bottles for metro tickets

Terrorists potentially target millions in makeshift biological weapons ‘laboratories’, UN forum hears

GSMA Mobile 360 Series – MENA in Dubai, in Association with The European Sting

Some Prevailing Arguments and Perceptions over the South China Sea Issue Are Simply Wrong

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s