EU to black list tax havens, EU Commissioner Moscovisi says
A list on non-cooperative tax jurisdictions around the world, the first ever common EU list, is being under preparation, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici has said.
“This month, we started the process that will lead, by the end of 2017, to the first ever common EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions around the world,” Commissioner Moscovici said speaking on Tuesday to Cypriot journalists in Brussels, expressing the belief that this list would not include a European country.
“We do not expect to have a European country,” included, he said and pointed out that “we need to apply a common sanction”, applying “the name and shame” as the most effective sanction.
The Commissioner talked about taxation, stressing the significance of the decision on Apple which he described as a “watershed moment”.
“We have sent out a clear signal that the era of large-scale tax avoidance by multinationals in Europe has ended. It was a decision that reflected a simple principle: that all companies operating in the EU, whatever their origin, whatever their size, must pay their fair share of taxation on the profits they make, where they make those profits,” he said.
He went on to describe the main steps taken in the past two years to promote a fairer and more transparent taxation than what was applied over the previous decade. He also referred to the agreements taken at Council level on an anti-tax avoidance directive, on the automatic exchange of information on tax rulings and on information on country-by-country reports of multinationals, a proposal on public country-by-country reporting, the agreements finalised and signed on the automatic exchange of financial information of EU residents in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Andorra and San Marino, and soon Monaco as well as a requirement that all Member States put in place central registers on beneficial ownership of all EU companies, which must be implemented as quickly as possible.
Moscovici stressed that the battle against tax avoidance is a global one and said that the EU will be relaunching this autumn the proposal on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, to establish a level-playing field on how large firms calculate their taxes in Europe.
The new CCCTB will meet two key objectives of the Juncker Commission: it will be good for businesses, bad for tax avoidance, he underscored.
He further said that he will present later this autumn a proposal on VAT on digital products. This will align the VAT rules for print and e-publications, so the latter can benefit from reduced VAT rates, just like print publications.
Frexit an absurd idea
Populism and the state of Europe, economic policy priorities and taxation were the focal point of Moscovici`s conversation with the press. Invited to comment on a possible French exit from the EU in relation to populism and voices in favour of a “Frexit”, he described the idea as absurd and “idiotic”.
“I am not worrying, but I am fighting this stupid idea,” he said.
The Commissioner talked about a crucial moment in EU history, saying that “our future will be defined, for the first time, not by the addition of new members, but by a subtraction”.
The mood here in the Commission is one of realism and determination, he said, expressing the determination to push back against the populists` destructive agenda, which can only lead Europe all to a dead end.
He made special reference to Commission President Jean Claude Juncker`s positive agenda to ensure that Europe both defends and empowers its citizens, noting that “to regain our citizens` trust we must begin by delivering solutions to their everyday concerns, like jobs and security. In short, to answer the worries that keep them awake at night”.
On the economic challenges the EU faces, he expressed the belief that a lacklustre investment is the absolute number one, reminding that the Commission already unlocked 115 billion euros in extra investment since last year, proving to a skeptical public that the plan works. Now, he said, “we aim to unlock half a trillion euros in extra investment by 2020, pledging that this will not stop there.”
He revealed that in the coming months work will get underway on the preparation of the white paper that the Commission will present next March, which will address ways to strengthen and reform the EU’s economic and monetary union. “I intend to contribute actively to this process of reflection,” he concluded.