S&D Group president Gianni Pittella today urged EU governments to finally act decisively against tax fraud and tax evasion in Europe, during a debate in Strasbourg on the latest leak to emerge, known as the Paradise Papers.

Gianni Pittella stated:

“Luxleaks, Panama Papers and now the Paradise Papers; there is really nothing to be surprised about or new to discover. It's the same old cancer on our economies: fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance. It is shameful that while austerity was imposed on many member states, many corporations and private citizens were hiding their money in fiscal paradises to avoid contributing their fair share of taxes due to fund our societies.

“We have denounced this since the very beginning of this legislature. As Socialists and Democrats, we are ready to take an additional step forward. Hence, we have called for the establishment of a special committee in the European Parliament.

“The Commission has delivered by presenting important reforms, such as the public country-by-country reporting. Taxes must be paid where profits are created. The Parliament, thanks to our Group's crucial contribution, has adopted its position. What is the Council waiting for? What are the member states doing?

“We should define a clear and credible definition of a tax haven. The current list of tax havens developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development includes only one country: Trinidad and Tobago. How is it possible to create a list of tax havens and then includes just one country?  A credible list should also envisage sanctions for the listed countries.

“What is the Council waiting for to act to eradicate the injustice EU citizens have to face every time the press expose new tax scandals?

“The EU's credibility is at stake. We can do more. We want do more. It's time for the EU Council to finally deliver.”

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