The EU’s Tax Treaties with Developing Countries - Leading By Example?
The European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament has released the latest in our studies looking into EU taxation, and why multinationals are once again benefitting from the favourable regime. This study by Martin Hearson from the London School of Economics focusses on the EU’s unequal and unfavourable double tax treaties with developing countries. It follows our studies examining the role of the Big Four, CCCTB, Apple’s tax dodging and the Panama Papers over the past year.
Amongst the key findings highlighted are:
• The EU’s desire to alleviate dependency and poverty in developing countries is undermined by unfair and lopsided tax treaties which are almost always beneficial towards EU member states - directly contravening Article 208 of the EU treaty
• The EU plays a dominant role in setting the global agenda for international taxation and when negotiating bilateral treaties. 40% of the world’s tax treaties include an EU member state as signatory.
• Developing countries are powerless in signing away their taxing rights during negotiations with EU member states, and in the process, with multinationals.
• EU member states impose more restrictions on their source taxing rights with developing countries than OECD Members with developing countries. This also directly benefits multinationals on where they have HQs rather than where their income is generated (the source; in developing countries)
• ‘Spillover’ analyses are badly needed to rectify the inequality - something which has long been ignored by member states.
• Analysis on the situation across the EU as a whole, but also with in-depth data analysis of individual member states’ bilateral tax treaties, such as the UK, Denmark and Austria.
The study also recommends what the EU member states should do to undo the inequality, and how it can show more in a way of leadership - both moral and economic.