Cleaning up the UK's overseas territories should be a condition of any UK-EU trade deal after Brexit, according to the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. The call comes as the group launches a new report (1) which argues that the fight against tax havens, tax evasion and tax avoidance must be at the centre of Brexit negotiations.
British MEP Molly Scott Cato, who is a member of the inquiry committee on the Panama Papers, comments:
“Theresa May has said she wants a ‘deep and special relationship’ between the UK and the EU after Brexit (2). Such a relationship must be based on a commitment by the UK to meeting the same standards on tax regulation that are met by the remaining EU27.
“The new report launched by Greens today looks in detail at how the UK has established itself as a global tax haven. It also calls on the EU to use the opportunity of Brexit to challenge the UK’s dodgy activities, particularly in regard to the status of its overseas territories, and make cleaning up its act a condition of any future economic relationship with the UK.
“Avoiding civilized rules on tax was always part of the Brexit agenda. Indeed, the Tories have explicitly stated that being one of the world’s major tax competitors will be a cornerstone of economic policy after the UK leaves the EU.
“We must ensure that UK citizens continue to benefit from Green achievements on tax including the abolition of the sort of blind trust identified in the Paradise papers and that was Appleby’s speciality, as well as ensuring country-by-country reporting by corporations.”
Greens/EFA president Philippe Lamberts adds:
“The Brexit financial settlement has made plenty of headlines. But the contentious issues around tax will have a far more profound impact on the future economies of both the UK and the EU27.
"Tax justice has to be put on the agenda of the Brexit negotiations. Rather than allowing the UK’s departure to aggravate the race to the bottom on tax and regulation, the EU should be making the regulation of its overseas territory a necessary condition of securing a positive trade deal.”
(1) Executive summary and full report: http://extranet.greens-efa-service.eu/public/media/file/1/5414
The report was launched at a press conference in Brussels this morning at 10am. A recording of the press conference will become available later this morning at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/other-events/video?event=20171130-1000-SPECIAL-UNKN