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22 April 2015

European citizens' campaign to outlaw tax-evading front companies

european citizens' initiative

The citizens' committee "Transparency for all" launched the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) An end to front companies in order to secure a fairer Europe in October 2014 in order to persuade the European Commission to submit to the Council and the European Parliament a proposal for a regulation establishing an obligation of transparency for companies and trusts.

According to the initiative-takers the infiltration into the legitimate economy of financial flows from criminal sources threatens the stability of the financial sector and the internal market. To counter this, it is essential that information is available on the actual beneficiaries of legal persons and legal arrangements. Therefore they seek support to demand that transparency of legal entities and legal arrangements is organised in a uniform manner across the EU in the framework of a legal instrument in the company law area.

This ECI is in line with the objectives of the #TaxJustice campaign of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the campaign on tax justice run by the European Public Sector Union (EPSU). ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol said in this respect “Tax evasion and avoidance are flourishing because of the lack of information on capital flows and ownership of assets internationally. National governments are focused more on tax competition than cooperation, more on cutting administration than on tax investigation.” Tax avoidance and evasion are estimated to cost €1 trillion a year in lost Government revenue in the EU alone.

The citizens’ committee backing the initiative is urgently seeking more signatures in order to reach the 1 million target by October 2015. It has the support of a number of NGOs including Transparency International, the Tax Justice Network, and the Global Alliance for Tax Justice. To sign the petition: http://www.transparencyforall.org/

On 22 January this year the ETUI organized a Monthly Forum on the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Water is a Human Right’ with EPSU and ETUC among the promoters of the campaign. Between May 2012 and November 2013 the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Water and Sanitation are a Human Right’ successfully collected almost two million signatures across the European Union, forcing the Commission into an official position on the role of water in the EU and wider world.

Further reading:

ETUC: Trade unions spell out Tax Justice demands

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