We have witnessed big public relations and political exercises to project the unacceptable activities of “tax havens” in Europe and elsewhere. Beyond obvious excesses in tax adjudication which cannot be justified (no matter who does them and how), these exercises have actually targeted the financial services sectors of a number of EU member states. Most of them, with the exception of the UK, are among the European minnows. Suddenly it seems as if countries which specialize in the provision of financial services, should be considered a threat to the integrity of the EU. A recalibration of this approach is needed. The fact is that financial services remain necessary in a globalizing world which has accepted neoliberal rules when ensuring that financial flows across nations and continents are managed efficiently. That financial services migrate towards given countries and not others reflects an international division of labour without which some countries would be perpetually in growth mode, others in perpetual stagnation. Increasingly, it is taken for granted that there must be something shady in policies which encourage the provision of financial services. To claim that such provision implies the encouragement of tax avoidance or even evasion, is manifestly false.

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