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

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

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

Why Trump’s tariffs are good news for US garlic farmers

North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid ‘increased sophistication’ of attackers, warns UN

GSMA Announces New Speakers for Mobile 360 Series – MENA, in association with The European Sting

Major UN aid operation for 650,000 gets underway across Syria-Jordan border

How painful is the Greek tragedy for the Germans?

Mali peace process in a ‘critical phase’, says head of UN Mission

New SDG Advocates sign up for ‘peace, prosperity, people’ and planet, on the road to 2030

Tobacco-free public space – how is the European law executed in my country?

To Bing or Not to Bing? That is the question

Back to the Basics: Primary Healthcare

Libya stands at a ‘critical juncture’, UN mission head tells Security Council

New round of bargaining for the 2014 EU budget late in autumn

EU Budget 2020 conciliation talks suspended

Half the world’s refugee children not in school, UN agency finds

Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum shuts down with no real replacement. EU’s Triton instead might put lives at risk

Unity, regional cooperation and international support needed for Horn of Africa to develop sustainably

This is what is still holding social entrepreneurs back

MWC 2016 LIVE: The top 5 themes of this year’s Mobile World Congress

Me and China

‘Open, cordial, and frank discussions’ held over future Somalia-UN relationship

A dangerously hot climate, simmering political tensions: ‘This is not the summer of our youth,’ UN chief warns

A common fight against Antimicrobial Resistance: how can we react and what should we do

The European Commission and EU consumer authorities publish final assessment of dialogue with Volkswagen

Ukraine takes EU money and runs to sign with Russia

Disease slashing global meat output, cereals boom, bananas under watch: FAO

The essence of care is cosmopolitan

The Eurogroup protects Germany and blames others

ECB settles the bank resolution issue, makes banking union tangible

EU report: Implementation of reforms continues to bring EU and Ukraine closer together

A young student discusses the determinants of migration in the European Union

ILO: Unemployment to increase by 8.1 million in 2013-2014

Bold, innovative measures for refugees and their hosts sought, at first ever Global Forum

Parliament adopts new rules for short-stay visas

Whale populations are slowly recovering – this is why

Mergers: Commission prohibits Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstom

Six steps that can help us to tackle homelessness

Syrian Constitutional Committee a ‘sign of hope’: UN envoy tells Security Council

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

G20 LIVE: World Leaders in Turkey for G20 Summit. Global Economy will be discussed in Antalya

Countries must invest at least 1% more of GDP on primary healthcare to eliminate glaring coverage gaps

Syria: A bloody tracer of Trump – Putin rapprochement

iSting: Change Europe with your Writing

German banks suffer of nausea amidst rough seas

It’s time to strengthen global digital cooperation

Unlock the value proposition for Connected Insurance

The implications of Brexit on European business, youth entrepreneurship and junior enterprises.

Taxes on polluting fuels are too low to encourage a shift to low-carbon alternatives

‘Ground Zero’: Report from the former Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan

Forget GDP – for the 21st century we need a modern growth measure

Four ways Europe can become a global innovation leader

Inclusion and diversity isn’t just good for employees – it’s good for the bottom line

Humans account for only 0.01% of life on Earth – but our impact has been immense

Here’s what you need to know about Bangladesh’s rocketing economy

Peace operations benefit from improved cooperation between the UN and troop-providing countries, says peacekeeping chief

Art, mental health and suicide: different strategies for increasing access to health services

North Koreans trapped in ‘vicious cycle of deprivation, corruption, repression’ and endemic bribery: UN human rights office

Over 80 per cent of schools in anglophone Cameroon shut down, as conflict worsens

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Women boost work profits, saving biodiversity, UK loses Chagos Islands vote, Gaza funding, malaria-free in Argentina, Algeria

Launch of Pact for Youth: European Youth Forum calls for real business engagement

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

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