Commission calls for significant progress on completing the internal energy market and tackling growing tax fraud and evasion ahead of leaders’ meeting.
President Barroso has written to national leaders setting out the challenges facing the EU on high energy prices, tax fraud and tax evasion.
A fragmented energy market coupled with a failure to tap the benefits of energy efficiency, through cheaper and cleaner sources for example, has led to considerable differences in energy prices across the EU.
Completing the internal energy market would tackle the inconsistency, as would implementing the EU’s energy reform package. More must also be done to facilitate sustainable private and public investment in energy infrastructure.
Europe must diversify its energy supplies. This will require using new international sources, alongside a more coordinated approach between EU countries on renewables and hydrocarbons.
Taken together, these measures will enhance the competitiveness of EU businesses and ensure they, and consumers, do not pay over the odds for their energy.
Tax fraud and tax evasion
Estimates show that EU countries are losing out on tens of billions of euros stored in offshore tax havens. Fraud and evasion are limiting the capacity of governments to raise revenues and stick to economic policy plans.
Creating a tax system based on fairness and equity will ensure that everyone, from blue-collar workers to multi-national companies, makes a fair contribution to public finances.
Action is needed at national, EU and global level to combat tax fraud and tax evasion efficiently. The Commission is proposing to widen the scope of the Savings Tax Directive. A proposal to increase the scope of automatic information exchange between countries will be presented shortly to cover dividends and capitals gains.
The Commission is also urging governments to implement its Action Plan on strengthening the fight against tax fraud and evasion, as well as its recommendations on tax havens and aggressive tax planning.
President Barroso also used his letter to call on EU leaders to agree on a strong position to drive international efforts at tackling tax fraud and tax evasion at the upcoming G8 and G20 meetings.