The European Parliament urged member states to step up the fight against tax havens and improve tax collection, in a debate held today that gives input to the European Council summit on 22 May. The MEPs voted on a draft resolution that says EU member states should join forces to halve the €1 trillion uncollected "tax gap" by 2020. Parliament's debate with Council and Commission analyzed ways to combat tax fraud and evasion and close avoidance loopholes, including drawing up a common blacklist of tax havens. MEPs also want the summit to make progress towards a real EU monetary union and better investment in energy infrastructure. A second draft resolution highlights ways in which member states could benefit by better coordinating their tax systems, without harming healthy tax competition.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament, Strasbourg
||Cutaway, EP President Martin SCHULZ
||SOUNDBITE (English) by CREIGHTON Lucinda, EU Council presidency," To secure the objective of affordable and sustainable energy and to ensure the reliability of supply, we have to meet our objective of completing the internal energy market by 2014 and of developing greater interconnection."
||SOUNDBITE (English) by CREIGHTON Lucinda, EU Council presidency, "Innovative financing methods, more systematic supply diversification and improved liquidity on the Internal Energy Market, can all contribute to reducing energy cost".
||SOUNDBITE (English) by CREIGHTON Lucinda, EU Council presidency, "It's crucial in the current difficult economic climate to tackle taw evasion and fraud at a time of fiscal consolidation we must action to protect our revenues if we are to ensure confidence of citizens and the fairness and effectiveness of our tax systems."
||SOUNDBITE (English) by CREIGHTON Lucinda, EU Council presidency," Further work includes measures to counter VAT fraud where the Council is due to adopt Directives on the "Quick Reaction Mechanism" and on reverse charge mechanism by the end of June
||SOUNDBITE (English) José Manuel BARROSO, EC President, "It is amazing to see how big are the differences across Europe precisely because of different national policies that in fact make it almost unavoidable to have a completely fragmented market in this area."
||SOUNDBITE (English) José Manuel BARROSO, EC President, "We have to push for more public and private investment in energy infrastructure, the back bone of the internal market.
||SOUNDBITE (English) José Manuel BARROSO, EC President, "By 2020 we estimate 1 trillion Euro as needed in energy sector."
||SOUNDBITE (English) José Manuel BARROSO, EC President, "We must continue to strengthen the internal and external diversification of our supplies. This includes tapping new international sources through, for instance, the Southern gas corridor which I have been pushing hard and which we expect decisive decisions soon.
||SOUNDBITE (English) José Manuel BARROSO, EC President, "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."
||SOUNDBITE (English) José Manuel BARROSO, EC President," 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."
||SOUNDBITE (Slovenian) by KLEVA KEKUŠ Mojca, (EPP, HU) Rapporteur: "The European authorities have to have the right to withdraw bank licenses for those institutes which are actively involved in tax avoidance by providing services and goods which make it possible to avoid the payment of tax. We also need to look at the scope of application of the directive on tax avoidance and put an end also to banking secrecy."
||SOUNDBITE (Hungarian) by GÁLL-PELCZ Ildikó, (S&D, SL) Rapporteur: "Rather than harmonizing member states tax systems, we have to make those systems dovetail. We need a common platform to gather and exchange information which could be used to back up decisions in the months and years to come. The European Commission should put forward proposals concerning this type of platform as soon as possible. There is a crisis out there and that requires of us to put in place the relevant stimuli to help the economy to grow."
||Cutaways (5 shots)