Aggressive tax avoidance by large corporations was under scrutiny at Wednesday’s EU Summit in Brussels.
Investigations in the UK, France and the US have revealed how little tax some leading international corporations pay.
In certain cases, careful structuring of the firms’ European operations allowed them to exploit legal loopholes.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Brussels Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “At last, there’ll be an exchange of necessary tax data within the EU and, above all, there’ll be negotiations with third countries. That is a huge step forward.”
French President François Hollande was keen to underline the injustice of companies not paying their fair share, saying: “Those who aren’t paying taxes have to!”
European leaders agree that action needs to be taken to close loopholes and level the playing field. But staying ahead of the corporate whizzes who invent the structures to get round tax policy may not be so simple.