Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Luxembourg, Austria continue to block Europe transparency

Update, Sept 13. More on this from Europolitics, here.

From an interview with European Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta, in Euractiv:
We continue to work on pushing member states to give a mandate to the Commission to negotiate with Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the three micro-states for agreements on savings taxation on the issue of exchange of information," he said.

"Unfortunately we are still not there, because of the blockage of the two member states concerned – Luxemburg and Austria. I am currently working very hard with the Cyprus presidency to convince those member states to improve the situation on tax collection from savings,” Šemeta said."
Cyprus, eh? Cyprus is a particularly mucky tax haven, implicated (among many other things) in the laundering of Egyptian money from the former regime, as well as lots and lots more dirt from the former Soviet Union. So we wish him luck in getting Cyprus' co-operation.

Semeta has more:
He added that the problems of capital flight and tax evasion in Greece highlighted the need to more cooperation on the issue, saying: “Taking into account the situation that we have in Greece I think it is untenable that those two member states continue to block progress on the files.”
Quite so. In the words of former Greek Premier Papandreou, citing TJN's figure of $21 trillion hidden in tax havens:
"I know this, Greece is suffering from this. Had this alone been tackled, Greece would have most likely never have needed a bailout. Yet Europe, the G8, G20, the banking system despite my pleas as prime minister, despite token reference in our council of G20 decisions, have done nothing to change this."
A long road ahead. Let's call out Austria's and Luxembourg's leaders for what they are: defenders of crime and secret privilege, and foes of European democracy. And of course we shouldn't forget their partners in crime such as Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


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