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Barroso to Push Tax-Evasion Fight Globally in New York Speech

April 15, 2013

The European Union is working to make tax systems around the world more fair as the 27-nation bloc moves to clamp down on tax evasion, European Commission President Jose Barroso will say today in a speech in New York.

“He will say that the European Union is working to ensure greater fairness within the European economy but also globally, taking one very topical example -- tax evasion and recalling that it costs the EU 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) every year and that the global bill for tax evasion is much higher,” Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen, spokeswoman for Barroso, told reporters today in Brussels.

“This is money the president will say that should be available to spend on education, skills, health-care and infrastructure investment in both developed and developing countries,” Ahrenkilde-Hansen said. Barroso is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly at 9:30 a.m. local time in New York.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy last week put tax havens on the agenda of the next meeting of the bloc’s leaders on May 22, calling tax evasion “a serious problem for countries that need resources to restore sound public finances.”

“I welcome the important new political signals coming from many European countries on tackling tax evasion head-on and addressing bank secrecy,” Van Rompuy said in an Internet video message on April 12. “We must seize the increased political momentum to address this crucial problem.”

Bank Details

Nine EU countries are backing an initiative for automatic sharing of bank details across borders, and the 27-nation bloc is nearing updates to a savings-tax accord as holdouts Austria and Luxembourg signal willingness to compromise, EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Semeta said on April 13 in Dublin.

The six biggest EU nations have won support from the Netherlands, Belgium and Romania for their proposal to adopt the U.S.’s FATCA information-exchange program, Semeta said. Finance Minister Luc Friedenof Luxembourg, which last week dropped its resistance to giving up its banking-secrecy rules, said over the weekend that he wants Europe to win broader global support for the initiative within the Group of 20 nations.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jones Hayden at

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