Brussels, 28 April 2009
Taxation and Good governance: The European Commission proposes actions to improve transparency, exchange of information and fair tax competition
The European Commission today has adopted a Communication identifying actions that EU Member States should take to promote "good governance" in the tax area (i.e. more transparency, exchange of information and fair tax competition). The Communication identifies how good governance could be improved within the EU. It also lists the tools the EU and its Member States have at their disposal to ensure that good governance principles are applied at international level. Finally, it calls on Member States to adopt an approach that is more coherent with good governance principles in their bilateral relations with third countries and in international fora. The Communication builds on the existing EU policy on good governance and the recent G20 conclusions concerning uncooperative tax jurisdictions.
László Kovács, Commissioner for Taxation and Customs, said: ”EU Member States cannot afford to act alone when designing policies to prevent their tax revenues disappearing to tax havens or non cooperative jurisdictions If they do not cooperate with each other, including in international fora, their actions to protect their revenues will not produce effective results'
Improve good governance within the EU
Improving good governance within the EU would reinforce the argument for other jurisdictions to take similar steps.
The Commission therefore calls on the Member States of the Union to adopt as soon as possible its recent proposals to:
The Commission also calls on Member States to continue the work to eliminate harmful business tax measures under the Code of Conduct for Business Taxation.
Promote good governance in the relations with third countries
The European Commission proposes to improve the particular tools that the European Community and EU Member States may have at their disposal to promote good governance internationally:
Some of the concrete actions proposed are:
With the financial crisis, the need for national governments to safeguard their tax revenues is more acute than ever.
The need to promote international tax cooperation and common standards has now become a regular item on the agenda of discussions, both within the EU and in international fora. Most recently, the G20 Leaders agreed at their summit in London (April 2, 2009), "to take action against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including tax havens".
The Commission's present Communication is a response to the questions raised at international level placed firmly in the EU context of its overall policy on good governance in tax matters.
The texts of the proposals are available at this web link:
Further information on the strategy to improve anti-fraud measures can be found at: