Tax dodgers cost the coffers of EU governments as much as one trillion euros a year.
That’s according to the European Commission, which says it is time to get tough on those who stash their money abroad.
“One trillion euro that is what we are losing every year to tax evasion and avoidance in the EU. To break it down, we are talking about 2,000 euro per European citizen,” said Algirdas Semeta, commissioner for taxation.
“The Commission recommends that members states use common criteria to identify and blacklist tax havens and apply co-ordinated measures against them.”
Tax evasion is a hot topic in this time of economic crisis. Governments are under severe pressure to claw back lost revenues as they try to balance their books.
But such measures at the EU level require the agreement of all member states.
Erik Rydberg of the Gresea think-tank said it would require consensus from all 27 countries, something which he sees as unlikely.
“We know that asking changes in Ireland would provoke conflict,” he said, referring to Dublin’s low corporate tax rate. “Luxembourg is a tax haven and holds the Eurogroup presidency. So this fiscal fraud, in the ordinary meaning of the term, is in fact happening inside Europe.”