Î¤he European Commission is referring to it as â€śa huge problemâ€ť. â‚¬2 trillion are missing each year from state budgets, according to the latest estimates, due to tax evasion by the wealthy. These amounts are enough to make the sacrifices made in the name of austerity look ridiculous. They are also enough to encourage states to engage in war â€“media or legalâ€“ against tax evasion. How is France and its neighbours fighting against this scourge? Are the strategies in use up to the challenge? Letâ€™s do a little trip around Europe..
â€śA script full of endless flashbacksâ€ť
: if tax fraud were the central theme of a bad TV series, this would be the critique of the Europeans after watching the last episode.
The complaint of tax offenses is not a recent phenomenon. Already in 2006 the European Commission expressed its regret for the extent of tax evasion in Europe, which was estimated between 2% and 2.5%
of EU GDP, or between â‚¬200 and â‚¬250 billion. Greatly underestimated.
Since then, the revelation of ICIJ (International Research Consortium of Journalists)
about offshore companies
, the Cahuzac case in France, the Uli Hoeness case
in Germany, the conviction of the fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana in Italy
, and the low taxes paid by multinational companies such as Apple and Google. In May 2013, the Commission revises its assessment: the evasion reaches â‚¬1 trillion
â€¦: This is an enormous amount of money, which seems even more shocking in view of the austerity policies implemented in the continent.
In September r this figure climbs up to â‚¬2 trillion
; not very far from the
estimates of the International NGO â€śTax Justice Networkâ€ť
and statements of good intentions
are accompanying such evaluations. But not only: the development of systems for combating tax evasion is tedious, but effective and is bringing results in Europe:
â€śThe reform of the VAT system, the EU actions to combat tax fraud (â€¦) are in the right direction. We know the problem, we have identified the solutions and it is time for Member States to actâ€ť
Algirdas Ĺ emeta, European Commissioner on tax matters, urged recently
. â€śThe culture of tax is the culture of democracy. It reflects the will of people to contribute to public lifeâ€ť
, notes Daniel LebĂ¨gue, president of the French section of â€śTransparency Internationalâ€ť, in the columns of Le Monde
Succeeding what exactly? In Germany, France, Italy and England, the fight against tax evasion prevails in national debates.