Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-01-Speech-1-233"

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"Mr President, Commissioner Kovács, ladies and gentlemen, according to some estimates, fiscal fraud in Europe exceeds 6% of tax revenue. It has a corrosive effect on confidence in tax systems, on the capability and fairness of treasury departments and on the wellbeing of citizens. It is a breeding ground for the informal economy and organised crime. Within the European Union, it affects the proper functioning of the internal market, distorts competition and harms the financial interests of the EU and also fulfilment of the Lisbon Strategy. If tax were paid on the one-quarter of global wealth that is hidden in tax havens, according to data from the International Monetary Fund, the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations could be covered with money to spare. The European Union must be tough in its fight against fiscal fraud. This can be done safely and responsibly, without imposing exorbitant burdens on our economy. The increase in cross-border trade and the effects of globalisation demand that we be determined in promoting a European strategy against fiscal fraud. National actions are not enough. This strategy must have an internal dimension, tackling problems posed by fraud in VAT and special taxes, and also tax evasion issues in terms of direct taxation, as well as an external dimension, by asserting the economic weight of the European Union. We cannot disappoint those of our citizens who scrupulously comply with their tax obligations and who expect leadership from the European Union. In this context, we demand that the package of measures against VAT fraud that the Commission will present next month is ambitious and that the report announced for the end of this month on the application of taxation to savings is useful for making definite progress in the fight against fraud in this area in Europe. We welcome the general contents of the report produced by Mrs Bowles who we congratulate. We trust that this report will be adopted in plenary and that, if improvements are not made, then at least we do not go backwards."@en1

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