Sunday, February 24, 2008

Foreign language news

TJN is a very small organisation but as we have pointed out before, interest in our issues is growing extremely fast, and we are beginning to be able to provide a little more information than before. Occasionally - for the moment it won't happen all that often because of limited resources, but this will hopefully change - we will be putting up brief English translations of stories in other languages. The last blog concerned some remarkable stories in the Dutch newspaper NRC about how little tax some Dutch multinationals pay. We also have a relatively new web page with news highlights from around the world - and we are beginning to put up occasional short translations of foreign-language stories relevant to TJN which might not otherwise be accessible to English speakers.

Here are our latest ones. (On the web page, you can scroll down for other stories or use CTRL+F or its equivalent to find stories relevant to you. )
Where there's no will, there's no way (Wo kein Wille ist, ist auch kein Weg)
Feb 24 - Frankfurter Rundschau – by Nicola Liebert - Governments still accept the existence of tax havens with the same fatalism as medieval societies lived with robber barons, possibly because they tacitly allow their industries to use tax havens to win a competitive edge in international trade. The story goes on to list the negative effects on wealth distribution and the finances of developing countries. In German.
An attack on the rich (Angriff auf die Reichen)
Feb 24 – Frankfurter Rundschau - Summarising an action plan to close down tax havens put forward by the activist group Attac, including a quote by the former Christian Democrat health and family affairs minister, Heiner Geißler, according to whom "democracy isn't put at risk by Zumwinkel. It is imperiled by the inactivity of the politicians of the western world and in particular the EU finance ministers." In German.

War of the Tax Havens (Krieg der Steueroasen)
FT Deutschland – by Detlev von Larcher (a TJN rep in Germany) - Criticising the German government for its hypocrisy in the Zumwinkel tax evasion case: it was the government in the first places that put so many tax loopholes in place, while at the same time making savings on tax investigators. The state has already surrendered to international tax competition and global capital mobility, lowering taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals and shifting the burden onto ordinary wage earners and consumers. Instead of taking necessary action against tax havens, the German government is hiding behind the toothless OECD list of tax havens and EU tax directive. In German.

Das Monster ist außer Kontrolle (The Monster is Out of Control)
Feb 21 - Die Zeit - An interview with Richard Murphy of TJN looking at the Liechtenstein tax evasion scandal in a wider context. In German.

Watch this space.


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