Following the two-day GUE/NGL event this week on the pressing issue for tax justice in the fight against money laundering and tax evasion across the EU, Spanish MEP Miguel Urbán has offered his own thoughts on the current situation and the way forward:
“It’s worth highlighting just how important the two-day GUE/NGL event on fighting tax evasion and money-laundering has been this past week. We had key contributions from panellists who, on the one hand, told us the link between tax evasion and tax havens whilst, on the other, demonstrated the deterioration in public policies and public services as we struggle for tax justice.”
“Every day, civil society and social movements are becoming more aware of these problems. Increasingly, the scale and sheer magnitude of this kind of awful practices are also giving reasons for concern for many in European society – despite the widespread belief that taxes are intrinsically harmful.”
“Taxes are not the issue here; rather, for those who aren’t fiscally responsible, we should remind them that the majority of tax evasion derives from irresponsible transnational corporations,” says Urbán.
“Of course, the decisions by certain countries for fiscal devaluation in order to attract capital from their neighbours have led to a decrease in the capacity to provide social services and policies in the public sector.”
On the issue of enablers and promoters, the Spanish MEP said:
“Behind every beneficial owner also lies a huge industry which helps to facilitate such illegitimate practices,” he continued.
“There’s a minority of rich people and transnational companies who are taking advantage of these unfair fiscal regimes on a global level. They are self-proclaimed proud patriots, managing their wealth and incomes but do not adhere to fiscal obligations in their own countries. Meanwhile, their fellow citizens are honest taxpayers who pay their share on their incomes every year. These are the working class who follow the rules, expecting public services in return but get austerity measures as a reward,” Urbán argued.
“This takes place just as the rich and big, private corporations pay much less in tax but get generous grants, rescue packages and public bailouts when they get into trouble!”
“In conclusion, we need another Europe. We need a Europe with a fairer tax regime in each member state; a roadmap towards more tax harmonisation; a blockade or tougher sanctions on the tax havens within Europe and against those who are taking advantage of them; a better system of beneficial owner identification and register; and regulations which can be enforced over all those facilitators like banks, audit companies and legal advisors as being directly responsible for helping their clients in illicit transactions,” concluded the Spanish MEP.