Luxleaks, Swiss leaks and now the Panama papers scandal have highlighted the need for much greater transparency in reporting on profits, fund formations and transfers across frontiers and tax liabilities by companies large and small, as well as individuals. I support all measures meant to ensure this transparency. Such measures must fully respect the need to allow a wide legitimate space for the financial services industry to function effectively, as well as the need for European corporations to compete on global markets against players which do not play by European rules. Nevertheless, transparency measures should not serve as a pretext to introduce tax harmonisation or to reduce the sovereignty of EU member states in organizing their taxation systems in line with their endowments. The latter point is especially crucial for smaller, peripheral economies in the EU system which have seen their flexibility eroded over the years by rules applied in a one-size-fits-all mode on a continental basis. I am sure that robust systems that combat tax evasion, aggressive tax planning, money laundering and related issues can be set up on a European basis, and globally, while respecting the above principles.
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