Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-01-Speech-1-229"

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". Mr President, I too should like to thank Mrs Bowles for the quality of her work and for the result that we were able to achieve in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs on such an important text as this. I should like to remind my fellow Members that the public purse currently loses between EUR 200 and 250 billion due to fiscal fraud in the internal market. These missing billions mean less public investment, fewer schools, fewer public services, more social needs that cannot be met and, of course frequently, in compensation, higher taxes for those honest and humble taxpayers who do not have the time to spend on tax evasion and tax shopping. I am delighted to see that, on the issue of VAT, there is broad consensus within this House on putting an end to fraud and practices which take advantage of the fragility of the transitional system set up in 1993. We are all well aware since the Liechtenstein scandal that the biggest fiscal fraud is committed by those large savers who place considerable sums of money in third countries, often tax havens, to avoid tax. The European Union has an instrument for fighting this fraud: the Directive on the Taxation of Savings Income. However, as underlined by Mrs Bowles, there are too many loopholes in this Directive and it only covers savings income in the form of interest payable to individuals. It is therefore currently far too easy to artificially set up a legal entity, sometimes with a single partner or shareholder, or to invent financial revenue that is not strictly interest in order to avoid tax. It is therefore absolutely vital to widen the scope of this Directive, as proposed by the report, so that, at the very least, fiscal fraud is not so easy. This is in fact a moral imperative. I must express my astonishment and disappointment at the amendment tabled by the PPE-DE Group which, due to both its timidity and its direction, ends up proposing that nothing should change and that, in terms of fiscal fraud, we should stick with the current situation. Let us put these positions to the European people, in particular the German people, and let us see how the European and German people judge the choices made here. I have heard big statements made in the media, particularly in the German media, about this issue of fiscal fraud. Here, in the silence of the European Parliament, other choices are being made. I hope that the European people will be the judge of these."@en1

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