Jean-Claude Juncker and the rise of extremism

   0   0 AllEurope, Blog, Corruption

We have previously blogged about the role played by the former Luxembourg prime minister in shaping the rise of tax haven Luxembourg.  Europe now faces the prospect that he will be elected the next president of the European Commission this coming week.  If this happens, those politicians who vote for Juncker will be directly contributing to the re-emergence of extremist politics.

The tax haven candidate

The tax haven candidate

As Nick Cohen notes in today’s Observer newspaper, Juncker wants to take charge of a European Commission that is currently engaged in legal action against the tax regime in Luxembourg that he was responsible for putting in place.  As president of the Commission he will have charge of an investigation into deals struck between his former government and transnational companies that have been taking advantage of Luxembourg’s EU membership to avoid paying taxes throughout the Union.  Can such a man be trusted to act in the public interest?

The recent European elections revealed the scale of disenchantment with the old class of political duckers and divers – the sort of politicians who think it acceptable to elect Juncker because he’s been around for a long time and understands how Brussels works.

Meanwhile, in the absence of fresh thinking, racist and nationalist politics are on the rise as public support for centrist and progressive parties dwindles.  The latter is at least partly due to the sense that politicians are all the same and that politics has been corrupted by being too close to big business.  As Cohen says:  “While the elite prattles about its principles in public, it rigs the system in private.”

If Juncker is elected by EU politicians – and there’s no alternative candidate at this stage – this will be an endorsement of a man who has put tax havenry at the heart of Europe.  Countries like Greece, Hungary and Portugal, which have suffered heavily from tax evasion and avoidance, can reasonably expect that no effective action will be taken to tackle the EU’s tax haven problem.  Disillusionment with the business-as-usual politics of Brussels will inevitably rise.  And the only winners will be the extremists (plus Luxembourg and its tax haven clients).

Read Nick Cohen here.


Related Posts

Launch of international research collaboration, #AltAusterity

alt austerityToday is the launch of #AltAusterity, a new, international research collaboration of which Tax Justice Network is a partner.  The project aims to stimulate public debate on the subject of austerity though high quality research. It is a response to the lack of evidence which has underpinned the current policy agenda on austerity. The project […]

READ MORE →

RB tax avoidance – company calls for public country by country reporting after Oxfam report reveals profit shifting

pictureOxfam has today released a report on tax dodging by RB, the company formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser and the maker of thousands of well known household products. The report looks at the 2012 restructuring of the company which saw it set up ‘hubs’ in the Netherlands, Dubai and Singapore, all well known corporate tax […]

READ MORE →

Half measures mean Mauritius will continue to be a tax haven for the developing world

MauritiusThere was news this week that Mauritius has signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI). This is an initiative from the OECD to allow countries to take measures designed to stop tax avoidance by multinational companies and put them into their existing network of […]

READ MORE →

G20: Pressure rising on tax haven USA

HamburgWhilst the eyes of the world focused on the isolation of the US from the ‘G19’ position on climate change, something remarkable played out elsewhere in the process. Following closely the common EU position that we highlighted a few days ago, the G20 communique devotes important space to tax justice. It’s so good we quote […]

READ MORE →

Will the G20 ever end the global problem of tax avoidance and tax evasion?

HamburgAhead of the G20 Summit in Hamburg this week our own George Turner has published this op-ed in the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung today. The article discusses why, despite sustained political engagement from world leaders, we are still some way from solving the problem of tax avoidance and tax evasion. Here’s an English translation of the article:

READ MORE →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top