"EU governments must be tougher on tax evasion and fraud" say S&D Euro MPs
The European Parliament today called on EU governments to "commit to an ambitious and realistic target" of halving the tax gap by 2020.
The call was made in a resolution proposed by S&D Euro MPs Mojca Kleva-Kekuš (Slovenia) and Anni Podimata (Greece) who led a cross-party majority in the Parliament's plenary in Strasbourg.
An estimated €1 trillion in potential tax revenue is lost to tax fraud, evasion and avoidance every year in the EU.
Mojca Kleva-Kekuš, the European Parliament's negotiator on tax evasion, said:
"In the last five years many official announcements and vows have been made by our national political elites, in and outside Europe, on fighting the tax evasion and tax fraud. But the fact is that no tangible measures have been taken to address the problem.
"It is regrettable that the European finance ministers were unable to follow-up on their commitment in May to close a deal on the automatic exchange of information.
"The EU tax gap – a gap the size of the combined budgets of all Europe's national health systems – is eating away at our trust in the fairness of tax systems and diminishing the funds available for public investment. That is why we need a firm commitment, a headline EU target, of halving the tax gap by 2020."
Anni Podimata, the European Parliament's negotiator on the financial transaction tax, added:
"We need stronger commitments and increased pressure on EU governments. Today's vote in the European Parliament sends a clear message to the Commission that it must take action on the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion and establish measurable and ambitious targets – for the EU as a whole and for all member states individually.
"To be credible, these targets should be closely monitored in the context of the European Semester and the EU2020 strategy.
"The fight against tax fraud and tax evasion should be one of the cornerstones of our enhanced economic policy co-ordination – fiscal co-ordination alone cannot deliver. European citizens demand a fair system of tax contributions and social justice through tax justice."