‘Paradise papers’: PES highlights fundamental damage to society

06/11/2017

Millionaire's yacht

Tax avoidance by the super-rich is not only an issue of basic fairness, but it is also damaging to the foundations of of society, argues the Party of European Socialists.

Fair taxation is one of the priorities of the PES. The so-called 'paradise papers', published yesterday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, demonstrate once again that this issue should be at the top of our agenda.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

"Fighting tax avoidance and improving transparency is a matter of fairness, but it is not only that. Societies need to provide quality public services for everyone, as well as a social safety net for those unlucky enough to fall on hard times. And this can only be done if everyone pays his or her fair share.

"Without a tax system that is well-functioning, progressive, redistributive and transparent, where profits are taxed fairly in the country of origin and not exported to secretive tax havens, the gap between rich and poor will grow even more extreme -- something that we already know is deeply damaging to the fabric of society.

"In recent years the EU has made great progress in fighting tax avoidance on an international level. But by its nature, this is a global problem. The evidence of the 'paradise papers' shows that there is still a lot of work to do."

The PES also applauds the work of the many journalists who painstakingly verified the details of the 'paradise papers' over the past twelve months.

Implementing a fair and redistributive fiscal policy is something that the PES actively pursues, through encouraging deeper coordination on tax matters between EU member states. We call for the automatic exchange of tax related information between tax authorities across Europe, for companies to pay their taxes in each country they operate in and for closing down tax havens.

Our priority is to invest the money lost due to tax avoidance practices into the real economy. This is especially important at a time when the people of Europe are already suffering severe budget cuts and austerity measures.