Monday, 9 February 2009

Development Ministers in Prague: British reluctance on tax havens

The consequences of the financial crisis for developing countries have been discussed at the Informal Meeting of EU Development Ministers held in Prague end of January, attended by European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel and representatives of the European Parliament Committee on Development. Although the effects of the financial crisis on developing countries are not yet fully visible, they are likely to be considerable, the Ministers declared. It was also observed that, therefore, it is all the more important that the European Union and other developed countries fulfill their obligations in the area of development aid, from the perspective of quantity as well as quality. During the debates on the reform of the international financial architecture, the ministers also evaluated possibilities of taking into consideration developmental aspects, including more influence for the developing countries themselves in the International Financial Institutions.

According to the CIDSE network, particularly disappointing was the reluctance of the British side and of some other member states to undertake any action in favour of combating tax evasion and better regulate and control tax havens. It was also surprising that a new round of debt cancellation has not been given more consideration, given that it could quickly release extra revenues to many developing countries facing serious fiscal pressures.

A major challenge for development (and environment) ministers will be to make sure that their concerns regarding the impact of the financial crisis on developing countries and climate change finance inform the debates of the EU finance ministers and the G20. A proposal for a “support plan for the developing world” is currently being developed by the European Commission, to be finalized together with Development Ministries in March as an input to the EU position for the G-20 summit.

1 comment:

sokpaard said...

It's good to see that WDEV is drawing attention to the enormous, decades-old scandal of Western official protection of tax avoiders and evaders. To keep further up to date, readers can visit the website of Tax Justice Network: www.taxjustice.net, or the less well-known but highly informative website called "Offshore Watch": http://visar.csustan.edu/aaba/jerseypage.html