Stronger action from governments is needed to fight tax fraud and evasion
Progressive members of the European Parliament and national parliaments today called on EU governments to take decisive action against tax fraud and evasion, which represent a loss of €1 trillion annually for national public budgets.
The issue was debated on the second day of the Progressive Economy conference – an initiative of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament – with the participation of experts such as Richard Murphy and Thomas Piketty.
Participants stressed that lots of promises have been made to taxpayers in the last five years, including eradicating tax havens, but governments are dragging their feet when it comes to transforming these commitments into reality.
S&D Euro MP Mojca Kleva Kekuš, who drafted a parliamentary report on measures against tax evasion and tax fraud, said:
“We need stronger commitments, both at the international and the European level, to address this anti-social behaviour”.
She called on EU governments to take concrete steps to halve the tax gap by 2020, highlighting that these are absolutely realistic goals. “In these times of budgetary cuts, this is a matter of social justice, fairness and real democracy”.
Participants at the conference also discussed how tax policy could contribute to reducing inequalities and to building a fairer society. The idea of a European or international tax on wealth – as suggested by French economist Thomas Piketty – and the introduction of a financial transaction tax were debated.
Belgian senator Ahmed Laaouej argued:
Clearly we need to increase the share of higher incomes in the tax system as they tend to contribute less and less."
Paul Magnette, senator and general secretary of the Belgian Parti Socialiste concluded:
"Putting a tax on capital at international level on the European agenda is a crucial challenge for the left, for a better redistribution of revenues in our societies."
More information on a special report commissioned by the S&D Group on tax fraud and tax evasion is available here.