The Brief: Overtaxation transports moral people to Paradise

The Brief is EURACTIV's evening newsletter.

In total, 130 Greek names were on the Paradise list and one of them was Mareva Grabowski Mitsotaki, the spouse of the conservative opposition’s leader, New Democracy’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Grabowski Mitsotaki was allegedly the manager of a mutual fund based in the Cayman Islands.

As expected, this triggered strong reactions in Athens. “Tax havens lead to political hell,” said Greek premier Alexis Tsipras.

Nothing has proven to be illegal so far. But society is wondering, Is  everything legal also necessarily moral?

After so many years of repeated mistakes that led the country to an absolute deadlock, this question has not been answered yet.

An interesting view was recently presented by Adonis Georgiadis, the vice-president of New Democracy Party.

“In global capitalism, as governments raise taxes, some people try to escape this looting of their income from governments […] this is how the global system works,” he said.

Georgiadis pointed out, though, that this should be valid for the money that comes from real work and not from criminal activity.

“Yes, one can escape from a government that wants to overtax, I do not find it unethical at all”.

The outspoken conservative politician went further, saying that if Tsipras wants to impose a 75% income tax, then, “I am sorry to say that but one has the moral right to try to not pay.”

Georgiadis was a frontrunner in the Yes vote in the Greek referendum. Seriously, could such statements make jobless young people more supportive of Europe?

Is this ‘new’ neoliberalism or an attempt to be perceived as such?

And what is the European People’s Party saying about that?  Not a great deal. Except Czech EPP member Luděk Niedermayer who said the extensive use of loopholes means people are losing trust.

And trust can’t be bought, even if you stash your millions overseas.

The Roundup

MEPs armed the EU’s ‘nuclear option’ yesterday in response to rule of law breaches in Poland. But a unanimous voting system means Hungary’s threat to veto the proposal remains all-important.

Poland also looks set to be bypassed by the EU when it comes to signing the Doha Amendment, the second part of the pre-2020 Kyoto Protocol.

The UN’s migration chief told EURACTIV that the mass movement of people is “highly desirable” if managed humanely and responsibly.

How the UK will trade after Brexit is still anyone’s guess but one option, joining EFTA and pursuing the so-called Norway model, looks more unlikely now after one of the chief exponents of the idea quit his post.

WindEurope boss Giles Dickson told Frédéric Simon that we are all still paying for “yesterday’s renewables” and Greece’s dirtiest power plants will have to defend themselves in court in what could prove to be a landmark case against coal in Europe.

Move over Brexit, there’s a new acrimonious breakup in town: Moeder Lambic and Brasserie de la Senne will cut ties after a breakdown in their relationship. Belgian beer is supposed to be the great uniter and we’re afraid this will shake Brussels to its very core.

Look out for…

It’s a crucial day for German coalition negotiators, the pillar of social rights summit kicks off in Sweden and Carles Puigdemont gets his day in Belgian court.

Views are the author’s

Subscribe to The Brief here.

Subscribe to our newsletters


Want to know what's going on in the EU Capitals daily? Subscribe now to our new 9am newsletter.