EU leaders take aim at tax evaders

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2013-05-22 13:34 Updated : 2013-05-22 13:34
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EU leaders are gathering in Brussels for a summit to tackle tax evasion and improve Europe‘s energy market. After sharp divisions over the EU budget, there may be more consensuses on these issues, seen as vital in restoring Europe’s competitiveness. Tax evasion costs EU states $1.3 trillion a year - more than was spent on healthcare in 2008.

A European Parliament resolution calls on the EU to halve that figure by 2020, by curbing tax loopholes and havens. The lead author of that resolution, Slovenian socialist MEP Mojca Kleva Kekus, called the current scope for cross-border tax fraud “scandalous”.

“Unilateral national measures will not suffice to defeat it,” she told MEPs on Tuesday, in a major debate on tax evasion.

The MEPs called for a joint EU blacklist of tax havens. Earlier, UK Prime Minister David Cameron had urged low-tax British overseas territories to sign up to international tax treaties.

The European Commission is also pressing for automatic exchanges of people‘s earnings data between tax authorities. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says the EU should aim to introduce such exchanges on 1 January 2015.

Next month the G8 industrialized countries will discuss strengthening global action against tax evasion and avoidance, so this one-day Brussels summit is aimed at establishing a joint EU position.

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