EU summit: No energy against tax evasion and fraud

From left to right: Enrico Letta, Italian Prime Minister; David Cameron, UK Prime Minister. Yesterday in Brussels everybody wanted to meet with the new Italian Prime Minister. (European Council photographic library).

From left to right: Enrico Letta, Italian Prime Minister, David Cameron, UK Prime Minister. Yesterday in Brussels everybody wanted to meet with the new Italian Prime Minister. (European Council photographic library).

As the European Sting predicted early yesterday morning, the European Council meeting of 22 May, which regrouped once more the 27 EU leaders, turned out poor results on both subjects that occupied its agenda, namely ‘energy’ and ‘taxation’. Sting writer Maria Milouv wrote, “the European Council of the 27 EU leaders has only ‘energy’ and ‘taxation’ in its agenda today, with poor results expected on both accounts”. Reading carefully the account, produced after the meeting  by Manuel Barroso, the President of the Commission, about what happened yesterday in the Council, is very enlightening. But let’s take one thing at a time.

Before enterprising to understand what the 27 EU leaders truly decided yesterday on energy and taxation, and having this Barroso account as a guide for that, one should keep in mind that the Commission President would have never denounced an EU leaders’ gathering as a waste of time and money. Nor would have he accepted openly that the so many and widely diverging interests, kept this Council impotent and incapable of taking any ground breaking decision.

No energy surplus

Now turning to Barroso’s report about what the 27 leaders decided yesterday over ‘energy’, he starts with the usual self reassuring comments about Commission’s ‘excellent’ work and his own contribution, when he “presented at the beginning of the meeting different scenarios and policy recommendations”. However right in the next sentence of his press release Barroso accepts that, “The reality is that the global energy landscape is changing very quickly and not in Europe’s favour. But we should not be resigned to that”.

Reading the last few words one should understand that the EU is now practically ‘resigned’, because there are so many things happening in the world in the energy sector, which leave Europe at least stupefied if not paralytic. These comments coming from the President of the Commission after yesterday’s European Council are at least alarming. It is a clear statement that Europe as a whole is not able to take course changing decisions, because it is paralysed by the contradicting interest of its core member states.

Actually what could possibly have in common, Britain and Germany for example, in this crucial sector? In order to make sure that the 27 leaders didn’t take any serious and concrete investment promoting decision yesterday, one may also read the account of Wall Street Journal about that. The writer of WSJ didn’t try to figure what was the real meaning of the lengthy European Council conclusions text. Instead, the prestigious newspaper must have asked the “chief executives of eight leading energy utilities” what do they make out of this EU Council. All of them replied that they are disillusioned with the EU‘s fragmented energy markets and criticised the 27 leaders for not introducing any concrete investment favouring measure.

No doubt then that the 27 EU leading politicians did nothing to change the deteriorating situation of the EU’s energy sector. As a matter of fact this is not true for all member states, because most of them have made diverging strategic choices. Germany for example has long decided to cling to the Russian gas, while Britain’s options are open to the seas and France supports nuclear energy. Given that It is really impossible to find a solid common ground, in order to build a real EU common energy policy. Consequently the 27 leaders couldn’t decide anything important yesterday.

More tax evasion

Now what about the fight against tax evasion and fraud? Let’s follow once more Manuel Barroso. His disappointment is more obvious in this domain, and this is detectable even from the first sentences of his account. After observing that the fight against tax evasion is the least the European political leadership could do to restore some traces of ‘fairness’ in the old continent, he is obliged to recognise that. “This discussion didn’t start today. In fact, as the President of the European Council said, some of these issues are already on that table. Five years ago the Commission has put forward proposals for instance in terms of saving, the Tax Savings Directive. The reality is that until now these discussions have been more or less blocked”.

Not a word that those issues were unblocked yesterday, quite the contrary. Logically, if the President of the Commission is obliged to accept that this issue has been blocked by the politicians who rule the Union, the reality must have been much worse. For example Britain may have said it prefer to altogether abandon the European Union, than accepting to shut down its offshore tax havens in the Channel Islands, the Island of Man and many more other islands all over the world. If those money paradises stop feeding the London City’s money machine, Britain would be in a really desperate position. For this country the reality is that the world’s tax evasion and other kinds of black money generating activities are life blood.

In any case Barroso was obliged to find something in yesterday’s gathering of EU leaders, to justify it and be happy about. In view of that he wrote, “Indeed there was a reference to a principle that I believe it is critically important – the principle of automatic exchange of (tax) information at European Union level”. This is also an old story and goes like that. The European Commission is trying for a long time now to create a system of automatic and mandatory exchange of information between the 27 tax authorities, including information about bank accounts of EU citizens. With the pretext that Austria and Luxembourg deny it, the issue remains frozen. Barroso very carefully observes that “there was a reference”, over that. This is far from an agreement, if words still keep their meaning.

In short yesterday’s meeting of the 27 EU leaders was a sheer waste of time and money. Unless the leaders found the opportunity to discuss other burning issues, outside the official meeting room. Probably the creation of the European Banking Union was one of them. Surely the Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, must have devoted all his energy to that.

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

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

‘Negative forces’ at work in DR Congo threaten ‘largely peaceful’ relations across Great Lakes region, says outgoing UN envoy

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

EU and China discuss economic and trade relations at the 7th High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

5 ways to bridge the global health worker shortage

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

100 years on, UN labour agency mission focussed on growing inequality, says Director-General

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

Parliament makes it easier to organise a European Citizens’ Initiative

Large parts of the world are growing more fragile. Here are 5 steps to reverse course

Finnish Prime Minister calls for a more united EU of concrete actions

A new way to teach active citizenship to students?

The four top Americans who flew to Europe perplexed things about Trump’s intentions

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

‘Virginity testing’: a human rights violation, with no scientific basis – UN

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Korea should adapt its migration programmes to ensure continued success in the face of expected challenges

EU gas market: new rules agreed will also cover gas pipelines entering the EU

Afghanistan: Bring ‘architects’ of latest ‘appalling’ suicide bombing to justice, says deputy UN mission chief

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

A Valentine’s Special: we can never overdose on love

Russia accepts what the EU has to offer and settles to negotiate with Ukraine

This Netherlands football stadium creates its own energy and stores it in electric car batteries

We probably should go back to the therapy in Primary Healthcare

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

The megatrend that will shape our working future

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

GradList Launched At TheNextWeb 2014

Here’s why leaders need to care about mental health

Haiti stands ‘at the crossroads’ between peacekeeping, development – Bachelet urges strengthened ‘human rights protection’

Joint UN, OSCE engagement can address crisis in Ukraine, other ‘dark spots of conflict’ in Europe

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

Two major EU projects falter; the Schengen Agreement now freezes and Eurozone fails to resolve the Greek enigma

What has a year of experiments taught us about basic income?

Who can compel Wallonia to unlock CETA, the EU-Canada free trade pack?

Eurozone: GDP development heads to naught; the expensive euro serves only Germany

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

Anti-vaccination movement affecting youth in Europe

Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

Turkey: MEPs cut support by €70m due to no improvement in respect for EU values

Innovating together: connectivity that matters

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

US and Mexico child deportations drive extreme violence and trauma: UNICEF

The Commission unsuccessfully pretends to want curbing of tax evasion

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

New Disability Inclusion Strategy is ‘transformative change we need’, says Guterres

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

More Stings?

Comments

  1. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

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