ETUC calls on EU Finance Ministers to overturn 2017 decision on tax havens

The ETUC is calling on EU Finance Ministers to overturn their decision in 2017 not to define as tax havens, and not to impose sanctions on, countries that fail to disclose who owns companies registered in their country.

“EU Finance Ministers should do far more to reveal who is hiding money in tax havens” said Liina Carr, ETUC Confederal Secretary “instead of taking countries off the list of tax havens.”

“The amount of the annual tax losses through tax havens is huge, up to 360 billion euros annually because it is still too easy to shift corporate profits and private assets to tax havens”

“The recently published Pandora Papers show how the rich – including the head of government or state of two EU member states – protect their wealth from taxation by secretly putting it in tax havens, while relying on others to pay tax to fund public services which all citizens and businesses depend on.”

“The Papers also expose how EU actions to tackle tax havens are not working.”

“The impact on public disillusionment with politicians and our democratic political system is possibly even worse than the impact on public finances.”

“The Papers demonstrate the value of quality journalism and of independent media.”   

The EU published in July 2021 its 6th legislative package on ‘Anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism’. The ETUC believes this gives the European Parliament and EU Finance Ministers an opportunity to fix the mistakes of the past and to rely not only on tax havens reforming themselves.

“While the EU deserves credit for its persistence in putting forward 6 packages to tackle money laundering and tax avoidance and evasion” added Liina Carr “The fact that we have already had five previous packages shows that the EU needs to step up its game. The EU needs to stop protecting the rich and take some decisive steps towards fair taxation and transparency.”