Question for oral answer to the Council Rule 115 Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Sonia Alfano, Bill Newton Dunn, Renate Weber, Leonidas Donskis, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Olle Schmidt, Nils Torvalds, Niccolò Rinaldi, Theodoros Skylakakis, on behalf of the ALDE Group
Subject: EU action to tackle tax evasion, tax fraud and tax havens
Most EU countries are increasing their tax rates and removing tax exemptions because of the economic crisis. It is not acceptable that tax evasion and tax fraud are strongly decreasing the capacity of Member States to increase revenues.
The Commission Communication of 27 June 2012 (COM(2012)0351) estimated the size of the shadow economy in the EU at nearly one fifth of GDP, representing EUR 2 trillion in total. This reveals the lack of efficacy of the action at Member State level to tackle the issue. According to the Communication, the Commission intended to come forward with an action plan before the end of 2012.
What is urgently needed in the EU is not only an action plan, but also a concrete, extensive new legislative package to tackle the shadow economy as a whole and at all levels.
Secondly, trillions of euro have been hidden in tax havens, many of them protected by the Union; up to USD 32 trillion in assets are hidden in offshore tax havens, according to the report published by the Tax Justice Network in July 2012.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso referred to tackling tax evasion and tax fraud in his ‘State of the Union’ speech in September.
Since tax evasion and tax fraud need to be urgently tackled at all levels (national, EU and international), will the Council encourage Member States to address the issue of tax evasion, tax fraud and tax havens? If the Commission proposes a concrete, extensive new legislative package to tackle tax evasion, tax fraud and tax havens, will the Council support it?