taxAt last week’s G20 summit in St. Petersburg, world leaders locked heads over the prospect of military intervention in Syria (an issue we’re currently debating elsewhere). Less attention, however, was paid to an agreement by G20 nations that they would automatically begin sharing tax information by the end of 2015. As G20 members represent almost 90% of global GDP and two-thirds of the world’s population, this could represent a step forward in the struggle against global tax evasion (though, of course, the agreement would not apply to the many tax havens that are not G20 members).

Tax evasion is a subject we’ve debated before, and you can read our recent infographic for some quick facts and figures. For obvious reasons, the figures are mostly estimates, but it’s striking to note that the potential tax revenue lost annually to tax evasion and avoidance in the EU represents more than twice the EU-27’s total budget deficit in 2012.

In a previous debate, Portuguese Socialist MEP Ana Maria Gomes brought up the issue of tax evasion in her response to Marcel from the Netherlands. Marcel believes that the Netherlands, which he argues has managed its pension funds better than most other EU member states, should not have to bail-out less responsible countries. In response, Ana Maria Gomes argued against what she saw as unfair and damaging tax competition:

The Netherlands might have this level of pension funds that Marcel mentioned, but the Netherlands also has one of the lowest systems of corporate taxation in Europe. Did you know that out of the twenty companies that are listed in the Portuguese stock exchange, nineteen don’t have their headquarters in Portugal? Of these twenty, sixteen have their headquarters in the Netherlands? This is a system for legal tax evasion. These companies don’t have to declare, by having their holding companies based in the Netherlands, the income they make internationally, from China to Angola. So, you have institutionalised a system of tax havens which leads to fiscal competition in the most unfair way. A tax jungle.

This is one of the things preventing countries like mine from reducing our deficits; the tax evasion amounts to 78% of the money that we need to balance our budget. This is benefiting other member-states, namely the Netherlands, and not being used for investment in the Portuguese economy, so the system is quite perverse as it is now. Fiscal harmonisation is an essential element to get us out of the crisis.

But is the solution really tax harmonisation? And what would that mean for those countries that currently benefit from a more competitive tax regime than their neighbours? We had a comment sent in from Christos on this question:

citizen_icon_180x180If Ireland, being a small country, [agreed] to harmonise its tax system with the rest of Europe, then it will lose its competitiveness and all foreign businesses will leave the country… Then its economy will totally collapse. Is that what you want? If Ireland satisfies European demands on this issues, what will Europe do to compensate the Irish? Will European companies come and fill the gap? Will German factories come and be established in Ireland to give jobs to the Irish, jobs that they lost because they agreed to the French and German demands?

We took this comment to Irish independent MEP Marian Harkin, who sits with  Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament, and asked her to respond:

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What do YOU think? Should tax rates be harmonised across the European Union? Should countries like Ireland raise their levels of corporation tax? Would this lead to a fairer tax system, or would it damage Europe's economy? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we'll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

  1. avatar
    Joe DaSilva

    Ok, you just don’t get it, do you? You raise taxes and you destroy jobs. Pure and simple. Until such time as Europe abandons this sick Socialist Economic Model, things will not improve. You don’t need to be a top Economist to figure out that the higher taxes are, the less businesses will invest and the less huma resources they employ. Why on Earth they haven’t figured that out, is beyond me. Not to mention that you start raising corporate taxes and many will clsoe shope and move elsewhere. Look at what Mr. Hollande has done in France; he managed to chase many out of the country. I’m stunned at the mere prospect of this happening. It’s lowering corporate taxes that creates jobs. It’s a no brainer; the more money companies are allwoed to keep, the more they have to reinvest. I should be in charge of the EU economic system. When will they learn, for crying out loud?

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      This stupid Thatcherist saying has been debunked by REAL economists as myth.
      Not only the “job creators” ( an euphemism for the rich who get tax cuts ) don’t …create job. They kill consumption because the working class is taxed MORE so they can spend LESS as a result.
      If they spend LESS then there is no …here we go..DEMAND. And if there is no demand MORE jobs go to hell and MORE people are laid off and so on.

      This is basically why austerity DOESN’T WORK. It NEVER worked.
      What we need is the keynesian solution – before it’s too late for that too and the patient is dead.

    • avatar

      If taxes are used properly, they create a powerful basis for growth – having an educated, healthy population with great infrastructure (very strong prerequisites for a healthy economy!) all require state support – no matter what some libertarians might say.

    • avatar

      Well said Joe- at last someone with logic! Lol
      You can raise the taxes as high as you want – but the irony is it won’t bring any money in- lol!!!!

  2. avatar
    Ottó Toldi

    not at all.. it is part of the race.. member states must provide competitive taxation systems to attract investments

  3. avatar
    Mikko Karjalainen

    This coin has two sides. Harmonized taxation and rules between member states could increase fairer competition based on efficiency, productivity and innovation – instead of current competition (or war) based on taxation and trade barriers, which ultimately make people and welfare states poorer – on both sides (no tax money, no services).

    EU need better products and better services, we need stuff like Google and Facebook. But at the moment, we are so different that it’s quite a burden to expand across EU (huge customer base). In US it’s so much easier to gain foot hold on the market and then expand outside, perhaps by buying smaller European companies which have no resources to expand even on the single market.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Mikko Karjalainen
      I agree with you in the main.

      The EU finds it difficult to produce a Google or a Facebook because its banking system is more averse to risk when contrasted with US banks.

      If the EU had a banking system or indeed just a bank that could grow new businesses/ideas as exponentially quick as the US can then I’m sure EU companies on the scale of Google, Facebook,SpaceX, Solar City or Tesla would manifest shortly thereafter.

  4. avatar
    David Eaton

    No different tax rates increase competition and productivity between member nations

  5. avatar
    Paul X

    If the EU was to harmonise tax at a reduced rate to what many countries currently have then that would be very good good for EU competitiveness in the global market.
    Unfortunately, this will never happen because all I see is the EU wanting more and more tax to pay for its ill concieved subsidies and socialist agenda

  6. avatar
    Alex Sekkpefb

    Yes they should, as that would lead to less inequalities within the Union and would definitely make its citizens feel more alike, not to mention that the warfare accounts would be better managed as they could be supervised by an European “tax” organism.

  7. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    If Europe was what it should be and there was a real solidarity among its members then yes, Ireland should coordinate its taxation with the rest of Europe. Sadly European union and solidarity exists only in papers so why should Ireland destroy willingly the little competitiveness that it managed to establish? If Ireland abolish its taxation system, most of the companies that mainly come from America will leave to find other countries to invest in.. Will then the Germans and the French compensate the Irish for sacrificing their economy’s advantage for the sake of European “solidarity”? I don’t think so.. They should step in and establish European companies on Irish soil giving jobs to those who will lose theirs and an income for the country.. But I suspect all they are going to do is to compensate them with subsidies as usual, that are in no way making an economy as competitive… In other words they are going to harm Ireland’s economy and they are going to place the whole country on the dole, instead of making it more competitive by moving some of their business and factories in Ireland.. For those reasons it is a resounding NO!!! Not until the rich countries want to play ball fairly and Europe becomes equal and united!!

  8. avatar
    Lyubomir Sirkov

    There is no point in shifting the decision-making process about an issue (i.e. taxes) to a higher level – the decision-making process should be kept closer to the ordinary citizen – and that means no EU-wide harmonization – but rather more empowerment on the local (municipal) level.

  9. avatar
    Spyros Tsakos

    The economic factors are not favoring tax harmonization at the moment. First we must leave behind the austerity(some countries are struggling to regain trust in order to attract investments), second it would be a good idea to have a harmonized basic income and third(and maybe most important) to build a better democratic system within the EU.Although tax harmonization would be without doubt ideal, the time is not right yet.

  10. avatar
    Antonio Jose Pecurto Pecurto

    Eu estou contra os aumentos dos imposto no s a Irlanda que esta a ser obrigada a aumentar os seus impostos Portugal tambm esta no mesmo barco os estados devem reduzir a austeridade reduzir a divida externa dos paises com dificuldades economicas porque ao crescimento baseado na divida externa s traz iluso e criar um crescimento sustentado

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      I agree – the Southern EU nations WOULD benefit if they had lower taxes.

  11. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Totally agree with MEP Ana Maria Gomes on her comments.. But why Holland and Luxembourg are not among the countries that have extra pressure on them placed by other EU member states to change their taxation system? Ireland has been put on the center of this dispute and Cyprus was forced to reform its banking sector, while other “core” European countries still get away with it.. And as Mrs Gomes is mentioning, it is time to call a spade a spade and say things as it is..People like Marcel think that their countries are paying up for other nations who are “lazy” and not as “productive”, but they totally ignore the fact that their countries are actually more “lazy” because they steal any potential income in the form of taxation from these countries by having the current taxation systems that they have.

    How can anyone built a fully functioning union on these grounds? If we want to harmonize tax, as others mentioned we will have to harmonize many other things like salaries and pensions, industries and the banking sector so that no one is left having to make ends meet on its own. While others remain rich by exploiting the poorer, smaller countries and slander them on top of that..

    If Ireland is called upon to change its taxation, so must Austria, Luxembourg and Holland, as well as Britain, if it wants to remain in the EU.. And to compensate for any loss of competitiveness we will have to create European funded businesses that will be set up across the EU, and not only in some industrialized countries. And finally we will have to re-industrialize Europe to achieve such thing.. Meaning the end of the current model of globalization that we have established..

    We have made a great mistake to end industrial production in our continent and send everything to be manufactured in China.. See China now, and look at us..Squabbling to get a bigger share on the carcasses of the few industries that are left in Europe..

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Christos Mouzeviris
      In addition to harmonizing taxes, we should methinks harmonize cultures too. A lot of Southern European nations too easily tolerate bribes, corruption, laziness and handouts. If the EU could harmonize ‘up’ the Southern EU states then the whole EU would be a better place.

      BTW, subsidising industries on a national or supra-national basis is against WTO regulations to which all EU nations are signatories to.

  12. avatar
    Dennis Anastassiou

    We can all have an opinion… sometimes a valid one… but… we do not create the world out of nothing… existing laws (that’s what the EU lawyers say) suggests transaction tax plan is illegal…

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Dennis Anastassiou

      What is interesting though is that the EU still tried to pursue this taxation nightmare knowing full well that to do so would doubly infringe EU law AND too would suffer the disaster akin to what Sweden suffered when it went solo with a similar tax a few years back.

      A Robin Hood tax would be reasonable if and only if a global arrangement was achieved prior to implementation AND too each nation is allowed to keep its own taxes.

  13. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    I’ll agree to harmonized EU tax rates when we [ie all EU states] can agree to harmonized sunny days per annum and harmonized annual precipitation and harmonized fish stocks coverage and harmonized wind resource and harmonized wave-power resource and harmonized tidal-power resource and…

  14. avatar
    Joe DaSilva

    Those of you in favor of raising corporate taxes are obviously not the sharpest knives in the box. What Scool of Economics did you go to? Have you ever seen it work? I’m not even going to discuss this any longer; it’s so ludicrous and induces vomiting

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @Joe DaSilva:

      Perhaps it is you who needs to broaden your horizons and not take so seriously the idea that very wealthy Corporations are unable to pay the same taxes as the poverty stricken, who work and have to pay their full amount, whether they feel they can afford it or not.

      You are listening too intently to the ruling classes and not to you own instincts. Corporations get away with murder. and no matter what propaganda they put out, they are more than capable of having their corporate tax raise to the point of shivering with fear for the fact that they have brought us to this chaos.

  15. avatar
    catherine benning

    Taxes across the entire European community should be set up in exactly the same way as German taxation is arranged. Based on the same level of benefits received as the German people have and expect in exchange for their level of that taxation. Right across the entire European sector should see the same opportunities for work, health care, educational opportunities, standard of living, infrastructure, living condtions and so on. Each country should stay with the same culture and language as presently, except, the requirement to learn and speak one European language throughout the continent. In other words, all Europeans must speak two languages at least. Their mother tongue and the official European used language

    That way we can standardize the living conditions of each European citizen.

    This means all immigration from outside the EU should be stopped until the EEC is fully employed and a standard of living reached for every citizen. Only at that point should the door to Europe be opened again and carefully monitored at a rate that will not reduce the living standards of the population once it is level.

    Manufacturing and agriculture must return to Europe in full and run at a level that will ensure all Europeans have a full living wage. Imports should be reduced to a minimum in order to raise the production levels inside EEC borders. Where controls on health safety and cleanliness along with regulations to ensure safety in what is offered as food must be properly overseen. Should it be necessary to turn to outside Europe for any human resources, then those human resources must leave on completion of works they were required to do. Without any kind of under the table right to stay for any reason.

    All European laws, including laws of behaviour and status expectations, from those coming to work from outside must be adhered to without exception.

    If we start here we may, with good fortune, be able to return to a civilized standard across the entire EEC.

    Any politician who cannot abide by these expectations and policies must give up their positions and take up posts in other fields.

    • avatar

      You do realize that ‘harmonizing’ living standard means that most in Northern Europe have to accept lower living standard, right? You cannot aggregate wealth at the highest level.

  16. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    @Traquin… Ok it is a deal… After the Northern European states are harmonized into stop stealing and meddling in the business of the South, corrupting their governments to achieve and serve their interests… Deal?

  17. avatar

    We in the Netherlands simply cannot afford to lose the business we gain from our competitive tax rates. Maybe it is time for other countries to ‘self-harmonize’ their ludicrously high rates to our lower ones.

    I for one would like our income tax rates to be ‘harmonized’ with those of Latvia or some other Baltic state with a lower rate.

    Tax harmonization would be an utter disaster, as in the ‘low-rate’ countries they cannot afford to go up, and the high rate countries either cannot afford or just plain don’t want to lower (like France).

    People who think we can copy the American model to some degree are living in a fantasy world. First of all the American colonies started out at relatively similar levels. The differences there were at the time were minimal compared to the enormous differences there are between EU states. And not just on taxation levels.

    It simply cannot be done, even if you’d want to. Unless you didn’t care about the consequences, I guess.

    Tax competition is good, because it at least puts some downward pressure on tax unlike what governments want is to steal even more of our money and spend it themselves. People themselves can handle the spending. And as for taxation, we in Netherlands have quite a high burden so any increase is unacceptable.

    And to people that don’t like what we have here in Netherlands, you can always resign from the EU and/or the Euro. And as I said before, for Greece you would actually be better off? Why would you stay in if you can be better off out? I do not understand this?

    You (Greece ea) decide to come in and stay in and then want us to pay for that decision? I’m afraid the system doesn’t work that way. Your choice to stay in, you deal with the consequences of that. Play by our rules or go out and make your own.

    Decisions have consequences.

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris

      Marcel are you for real? It is you that want to expand your “empire” to the South East and North, so you can have more markets to exploit and steal their resources for nothing.. We give you our goods for prices that you would not get outside the single market and in return what do we get? Stupid Norther European inspired austerity.. It is you that gain more from how the EU works at the moment and then you got the nerve to complain about having to support us, after you stole any competitiveness and resources that we have.. That is typical Northern European vulture culture.. Raiders from the North your ancestors were, and so you remain after all these centuries… In order to get more riches, you colonized and corrupted any government that you could in order to create favorable conditions for you to thrive, simply because your countries have no resources on their own at all, so you need to steal from those who have.. Imagine if we all had low taxes like you, could your economy be so competitive? No!! We simply can not all of us lower our taxes, because then nobody would benefit this way.. And the way Europe works at the moment you may thank the Yanks and the Marshall plan that shaped Europe as it is at the moment, with some countries being always rich and prosperous because they steal other countries resources and some always poor and underdeveloped because they are not allowed to exploit their natural resources.. Why are the Norwegians exploiting Irish oil and gas reserves? Why isn’t Greece exploiting its gas resources in Crete and its gold resources in Chalkidiki and the Canadians came to exploit them, after the Europeans forced our government to privatize everything and sell off our natural resources for scraps? It is YOU who should start playing fair and not us..Otherwise you may stuff your union where the Sun does not shine, and then you will see how much you will be paying for your groceries in your pathetic miserable grey country that nothing grows..Ok? The problem is that your governments decided to close down any industries and focus on easy money, and the banking sector.. And so they turned your countries into unproductive, robbing, corrupt tax havens, in exchange for quick economic growth..Now you see that this does not work, but it is us who must pay the price..Mind you yo also feel the consequences of your government’s stupidity and feel the pinch of the austerity..You do not like it..There is more to come mate..But you keep your ignorant, arrogant and idiotic attitude that your government want you to believe that for everything you many blame those lazy and corrupt southerners, but not yourselves.. One day you will wake up… But being so stupid or brainwashed and arrogant, well you may not…

  18. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Marcel are you for real? It is YOU in the rich North that above all you want to expand your “empire” and include all European states in the East South and North so you can have more access to new markets to exploit and take over.. Screw your union if you dominate it and want to play only with ifyour rules.. exploit thepoorer or smaller nations..

  19. avatar
    Paul X

    Christos are you for real?

    Countries have to apply to join the EU, there is no taking over to expand an empire, every country in the EU is there voluntarily (at least from a government point of view if not the people)
    Poorer countries are queuing up to join because all they see is handouts and subsidies any “benefit” the EU gets from “exploiting” these countries is far outweighed by the financial burden they bring to the net contributing countries like the UK

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris

      Paul X if Britain stop behaving like a sponge gathering all riches to itself and did not stick its nose to other countries business, then perhaps those countries would be better off and they would not come knocking on your door… It is the Protestant ethos my friend, the need to accumulate wealth and have property and ever expanding economic growth that is to blame and shapes the type of Capitalism we follow.. Not everybody thinks that way though… It is you who want more and more and maintain your illusion that you are still a superpower and you matter still.. So you mess up other countries and their economy by being a corruption center..Sorry I meant a global finance center… Yes?

  20. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Also, EU expansion is always on the EU agenda… Yes? So who is coming knocking on your door Paul?

  21. avatar
    Paul X

    The UK has not been concerned with “sticking its nose” in other countries business since the days of the British Empire which started coming apart over 60 years ago. We still have some responsibilities to those colonies and we meet these because we owe it to them, we owe nothing to other European countries yet we are still one of the top three net contributors to the EU budget, can you explain why that should be?
    And the UK is the top financial institution for the world not just the EU, this certainly wouldn’t be the case if corruption was as you infer, it is top because it is less corrupt than the rest. “The messing up” of Europe’s economies has been of it’s own making with the rigidity of the Eurozone which if you haven’t noticed, we are not part of. It is just convenient for the EU to blame the UK’s financial institutions for the Euro’s failings, strange how the many other currencies the UK financial sector deal with on a daily basis haven’t created the same problems as the Euro isn’t it?

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      And, Paul X, no doubt you feel that way about the wonderful ‘Commonwealth’ that costs the UK a fortune to support one way and another, and for which we go on endlessly bestowing benefit regardless of its worth to us. Which truly is of so little as to have become, quite frankly, a noose around our necks, in the real sense.

      You cause me to need the smelling salts. Your ignorance is in the extreme. We are European culturally and by blood, yet you denigrate those who stood with us in WW11 as if they were an an arse to kick repeatedly. And clearly your knowledge of the financial chaos we find ourselves in, along with the rest of Europe, is scant indeed. Let me educate you, because you are being led like a donkey by a carrot on a stick just out of your reach.

      I know you don’t like to face facts but it is necessary if you want us to rise out of the ashes and spread our wings like the Pheonix.

      Here it is made easy made for people just like you.


      So, what can be done. We all know that Capital never resolves its financial problems, so when we rethink as here, we find we have to grow a new way of setting up our economies. And quickly.

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris

      Haha..Do you really believe that there is no corruption in the UK just because the financial institutions are based there? Yeah right..Just like the Swiss believe that for themselves… Wherever there is a lot of money and power involved, that is where corruption is endemic.. Yet we call corruption only when in happens in Moldova, Bulgaria, Greece or Romania.. I haver never said that the crisis in the eurozone was of Britain’s actions, but all of the European powers (France, Germany, Britain and so on, the core European economies) have a fair blame for the continent’s woes.. Do you really belive that the eurozone came close to collapsing only because of Greece that represents just 2% of the European economy? The root of the problems lies elsewhere and it is located in Europe’s great financial and political decision taking centres, that include Berlin, London, and Brussels..

  22. avatar
    Olivier Laurent

    “Would this lead to a fairer tax system”

    I never clearly understood how could you use the word fair to describe “legal plunderiing”. There is nothing fair about it. You punish those working. You could only call it “necessary evil” in specific cases.

  23. avatar
    Emmanuel RODARY

    It so… irrelevant for me to read what I read here !
    «We in the Netherlands simply cannot afford to lose the business we gain from our competitive tax rates. Maybe it is time for other countries to ‘self-harmonize’ their ludicrously high rates to our lower ones».
    Just imagine a country in EU setting its tax rates to half of what you have in Netherlands… you will loose your business, your jobs, your welfare, another country will get the taxes, only half of what Netherlands used to get for the same activity.
    If all countries run in this direction, the result will be a fall in tax revenues all over Europe.
    This competition is the root of the crisis that occurred in USA in the late twenties… every state tried to bring activity to its own ground by lower taxes than its neighbour, there was no other policy because a state that didn’t play this game automatically loosed activity. And as all states used to play this game, they all finally had to cut all social help, reduced salaries until Roosevelt decided to make it a federal law that all societies must pay the same taxes everywhere around USA, put back social help and increase federal budget from 1% to 7% of GNP to help “less developed states” to raise up.
    The result was a quick return of welfare, even in the richest states.
    We are exactly at the same situation now in EU that where the US in 1929 : a run to low taxes to get activity from “partner countries” instead of developing activity.
    If all countries play this race, everybody knows all Europe will fall.
    Today we NEED to create minimum tax level in all EU states and increase the EU budget to create solidarity within EU states so that welfare comes back to the continent the same way it use to come back in USA after Roosevelt’s policy.
    The need in Europe is not to make the states TAKE it’s neighbour’s activity by accepting to degrade global welfare, the need is to CREATE activity.
    We NEED some kind of tax harmonization.
    We NEED to make Europe a zone of welfare instead of parasitize our neighbour’s by degrading the total welfare.
    We NEED a federal budget with help of EU states that have a risk to fall.
    And for that we NEED to change to a democratic and federal model of Europe because without this condition, nothing I write can be accepted from Europeans.

    Last point : How can you qualify a situation where some countries dictate tax rates and all financial and economic policy to another one (let’s call this other one Greece) and accuse it for following the policy they forced ?
    How can you qualify a situation where pensioners loose their pensions, where workers have the highest working hours per year in Europe (such as Greece) and where the people from other countries that have the lowest working hours per year accuse them to be lazy or not work enough ?
    I don’t know how you qualify this… but if you verify, the best words are “facts” or “reality” !

    I’m not from Greece (but from France)… but it’s hard to read so many accusations about Greek people because the follow a policy that make them victim of a real parasitism from countries that destroy by this policy the whole European welfare.

    What will happen with the “business you get from other countries by low taxes” the day those other countries collapse?
    This business will decrease by lack of customers. It will have disappear in one country and decrease in the other… globally it’s a lost for European people.

  24. avatar
    Paul X

    Catherine, where have I given any opinion on the Commonwealth, show me?
    Where have I denigrated anyone who stood with us in WW2? though if you want to bring WW2 into the discussion then there are many countries out there who owe the UK a lot, we came out of the war bankrupt after helping free Europe, the invasion of Britain was cancelled remember, we could have sat back at that point and done nothing but we didn’t
    Instead of making false accusations and posting you tube clips by extremest nutters, why don’t you try sticking to facts for a change?
    A bit of advice, you can find every opinion under the sun spouted on you tube but it doesn’t make it all true

    And Christos, likewise, try reading what is actually written, I never said Greece was to blame for the European financial crisis, I said it was the Euro

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @Paul X:

      So you don’t like my little examples of the cause of our financial downfall because they come from that awful freedom worker, youtube. Well now that is really the view of a dullard. So, if you want to call the shots and tell us how wonderful our capitalist system is, and that we, like you, should be on our knees to it, then put up your side of the argument, because surely you must have one. And it must be something you can explain, show or take apart to reveal to us all.

      And by the way, Britain was bankrupted in WW11 in the same way all the other European countries were. Which was exacerbated by US penalties and flattened when they added huge interest to the loans they sold us.

      To add to that, lets look at how the Euro was really clubbed to the floor as a result of, once again, US treason against its allies.

      Why the US brought about the fall of the Euro was for fear the dollar was losing Opec money. And please don’t play the youtube is a lying machine game. This is an academic film aired by them on Youtube to inform the world. And clowns like you hate it, because the truth is at the fingertips of us all and blows your capitalist crap to pieces. So for your viewing pleasure here we go.

  25. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    The euro only made it worse Paul… The crisis started in America and the banking sector who messed up big time… The faults in the eurozone made it even worse, because our leaders did not design their pet project wisely… Shape up the banks, the markets and the rating agencies, redesign the euro and the solution is there… But no, in capitalism those who have nothing to do with the creation of the mess always are called to pay up… Absolute disgrace!

  26. avatar
    Paul X

    Ok Christos, so basically we are only disagreeing on the level of responsibility for the Euro?
    I will still say it is to blame 100% for Europe’s problems, in “Cloud Euroland” the Euro was always supposed to be an equal on the world stage to the Dollar, that was the ultimate goal and if it was successful then it would not matter what happened the other side of the Atlantic the Euro would still be strong.(In fact the Euro would have became stronger following a Dollar collapse)

    Unfortunately for the anti US brigade it is, and probably always will be a second rate currency dancing to the tune of the Dollar

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris

      Yeap… I personally do not oppose the idea of a common currency in Europe, it makes sense to me to exist.. Common single market, open borders etc.. So a common currency is not something that I oppose..

      What I do oppose is the way this euro currency was set up and the timing or the number of members and how quickly they joined.. That is the real problem and why we are called to pay for it now.. Our leaders acted hastily and irresponsibly and now instead of admitting defeat they are trying to cover up their mistakes by finding a scapegoat in Greece and other countries, while the true issue was the policies they chosen to follow..

      I would say yes to the euro if it was established properly.. I do not blame the single currency for our problems now, only our leaders, they choices their tolerance of this financial system and type of economy, in which the banks have absolute control the markets are the real rulers and the rating agencies can decide the future of a nation…

  27. avatar
    Iouri Galitchenko

    13 percent, to be on a level with the commissioners, and of course remove TVA, as partially they do not pay it;)

  28. avatar

    For the Eurozone, it’s hard to see a future where tax won’t be harmonised at some point. I can’t see how democratic countries who have the strongest economies in a common fiscal agreement won’t want to apply pressure for an equal tax rate. Otherwise they’d lose business to low tax economies looking to attract business.
    Outside the pact, well without the fiscal ties, there’s a lot more options that can and should be left free to local control. There is nothing wrong in looking to attract business by offering a low tax rate if it helps provides jobs and industry.
    The one question I would ask, is if harmonised, would that be for a low tax economy where people spend their money how they see fit or a high tax economy with the welfare? Can’t imagine the members of the EU being able to agree on either option!

  29. avatar
    Rene Birger Pedersen

    It would make sense to align/harmonize basic pension systems (retirement’s coverage) in EU. Plus tax control of multinational companies should be lifted to EU level which could match the multinational companies in regards tax competencies.

  30. avatar
    Rene Birger Pedersen

    Denmark has reduced the tax on liquor, beer and other stuff which did cause lot of boarder shopping between Denmark and Germany. (Residences in Denmark going to Germany to do shopping)

  31. avatar

    The least that has to be done is harmonization of taxes in the eurozone. How can you share a common currency if nations don’t play by the same rules? How’s that for a level playing field? What could be done is equal taxrates for the whole eurozone with the ability to temporarily cut rates as a way to make a struggling country prosperous again. It’s like the eurozone’s way of temporarily devaluation.

  32. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Ireland, Holland and Luxembourg are some kind of offshore places to steal the tax money from other countries. What is fair about that?

  33. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Joe da Silva, that is why Scandinavian countries are very poor. No? They are not? Accordingly to your theory they should be. It happens they are the richest countries and the most happiest countries in the world. Just have a look where US is.

  34. avatar

    Look at the fuels and energy harmonization. Most of the countries stick to the min rates (incl. biggest economies) and the application is totally different. The point is not about the rates, it’s about the readiness of the people to accept them. And if they can’t (low incomes for instance), what would be the outcome? The companies will find out soon new evasion paths, but the people… Can a Bulgarian pay the same inderect (consumption) taxes like his/her German peer? Definetely no. So, lets first modify / specify the quest to corporate taxes only. And where, BTW, the idea to turn off the taxes as competion factor is longly debated, but it is still hardly perceivable.

  35. avatar

    I firmly believe that one of the main problems of financial harmonisation in general, including the vital issue of taxation, is that European leaders and peoples haven’t decided what kind of economic culture they want. It’s plain mathematics. You can’t have the x amount of countries contributing to the budget in order to cover a large public sector in some other countries hence needing increased taxation from their peoples and vice versa. EU MUST have a common taxation which, within the new unavoidable realities in the world, must be competitive and especially if Europe wants to keep some of it’s social culture then it should attract non-european investments and deposits and not the opposite. A good part of “european” money are outside Europe. There’s a fine balance that must be kept as no one I guess would like to see an all American style EU in terms of public spending (health services, school, some utilities) but at the same time taxation must become competitive (lower for ALL, always according to incomes) and one of the first steps for this is harmonisation.

  36. avatar

    Tax Harmonisation is clearly needed. It has been stalled by countries who of course wouldn’t benefit from it. This is where the problem lays: the single country interest and the incapacity to take decisions based on what is best for the european territory.

    Given this 5cent comment, i would say that harmonisation of a single aspect is quite dangerous. Governments are quite creative in dodging good intentioned policies. A comprehensive and integrated financial harmonisation is required. Things like minimum wages formulas, fuel taxes, tobin’s tax, retirement age and retirement funds formulas, number of holidays, etc are required in order to make us all understand we are Europe.

    and dear co-european citizens… if we cannot set a number.. we can set ranges or conditioned degrees of freedom to increase or decreased the, for example corporate taxes, based on country economic indicators like deficit, debt levels, unemployment, etc..

  37. avatar

    The Slovak Government intends to introduce a new type of tax for business companies (so called licence fee). Prepared by the Smer-SD political party, the licence fee represents some kind of a minimum tax, because there are many companies declaring zero tax or even minus. There will be three basic levels of the licence fee set for Slovak companies and they should apply from January 1, 2014. The main criterion for estimating the amount of licence should be turnover as well as the fact whether a company is a VAT payer or not.
    Complete article available at

  38. avatar

    In principle, yes. But lots of things need to precede this – the power to set taxation is probably the state’s most powerful instrument. As the Yankees said – taxation should come with representation. Before we set a single tax rate for the EU, we need a strong Parliament and a directly elected head of the EU. Only then will the citizens be able to decide on the levels of taxation and therefore be represented. One more thing: if we have the same tax rate, it would be ideal to see the same rate of social benefits as well, and harmonization across the EU in this respect will take at least a decade, more likely several.

  39. avatar
    Paulo Cortesao

    I think is necessary an equal taxes system inside of EU.
    All European citizens need to know, not every countries inside EU have the same conditions of energy production, sun, water, wind to produce the same product at the same price.
    The must richest of EU are the differences between the countries, different languages, culture, food, national products, ecc… We need really to create strong points of contact as European society and quality of life, but we don’t need to lose what defines own national identity.
    EU needs a strong leadership for create a real intra EU economy where itch nation can sales theirs best products and an extra EU market.
    Inside EU we need an unique tax system but this one need to predict also some flexibility for a short / medium term (5 or 10 years) to help some states….
    We will never be a real European Union until every states of EU don’t be inside of Euro Zone and Schengen Space.
    It’s impossible to have similar needs and interests if the conditions aren’t similar is the same for all!!!

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