MEPs on Tuesday urged member states to step up the fight against tax havens and improve tax collection.
The call for a pan-European blacklist of tax havens came ahead of the EU Summit on Wednesday, when EU leaders are due to meet in Brussels to discuss ways to close the current 1 trillion euro tax gap in Europe.
“The total loss of revenue due to illegal fraud and unacceptable evasion is estimated to be arounfd1trillion Euros a year. Let’s put that into some perspective 1 trillion Euro is nearly double the 2012 combined annual budget deficit of all Member States.”, said European Commission’s President José Manuel Barroso.
‘My proposal is that maybe they can cancel the European Council of tomorrow and hold a real ECOFIN meeting of the ministers of finance. So that they can decide on concrete legislation on a blacklist of tax havens in Europe, concrete legislation on a corporate common tax base, what we still don’t have in Europe’, said ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt
The European Parliament also wants to make the exchange of banking information easier to improve transparency.
Last week EU finance ministers agreed to discuss the easing of banking secrecy with countries such as Switzerland, Monaco and Andorra.
“Tomorrow At the EU Council I will push for a political commitment on one very simple principle that on the 1st January 2015 the EU should have automatic exchange of information for all sources of income”, said European Commission’s President José Manuel Barroso.
“I hope tax payers all over Europe listen to this. If we look at the officials that work for the European Commission and work for the European Parliament, the highest category are people that earn a net income pay of just over a 100 000 pounds a year, and yet, under EU rules, they pay tax of 12%. It’s tax fraud on an absolutely massive scale and Mr Barroso, I would say to you: how can that be deemed to be fair?”, said EFD leader Nigel Farage.
The debate in the European parliament comes a day after UK Prime Minister David Cameron called on Britain’s overseas territories to “get their house in order” over the sharing of tax information. He also told business leaders to stop avoiding paying taxes.