April 26-27, European Parliament, Brussels GUE/NGL MEPs are working together on the European Parliament’s committee of inquiry into the Panama Papers revelations. As part of this work, we are organising a conference to discuss the growing international movement against tax havens, and the key policy challenges we face in Europe.

This conference takes place one year after the Panama Papers revelations and takes stock of progress achieved so far and challenges ahead. It further aims to:
Bring together tax justice activists, academics, trade unionists and representatives from NGOs to discuss the key challenges, in Europe and internationally, in the struggle against money-laundering, tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance;
Identify the key policy challenges and develop policy proposals to deal with these challenges at the EU and Member State level;
Facilitate an exchange of views from different organisations, parties and countries on the experience of campaigning and mobilising for tax justice, and develop a strategy and network to strengthen this movement;
Facilitate an exchange of views among policy makers across Europe on national and European efforts to tackle money-laundering, tax evasion and tax avoidance, and develop the means to ensure this exchange continues beyond the conference.

PART 1: The struggle against tax dumping: Policy and campaign challenges in the EU

April 26, 14.00-16.00 – European Parliament Building, Rue Wiertz 60, Room PHS 1A51

The Panama Papers are only the tip of the iceberg of a tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering problem that is a structural part of the current global economic system. NGOs, trade unions, and academics have played a key role in developing policy proposals, and in mobilising and campaigning for change.

Opening: Patrick Le Hyaric, coordinator of the Panama Papers’ Inquiry Committee (5 min)
Fabio De Masi, vice-Chair of the Panama Papers’ Inquiry Committee (5 min)
Panel input (40 min):

Patrick Orr (EPSU): The role of unions in the fight for a fairer tax system
Tove Ryding (EURODAD): Building a European movement for tax justice
Liz Nelson (TJN): Mobilising academia and media in the fight for tax justice

Discussion (55 min)
Closing: Matt Carthy, Member of the Panama Papers Committee of Inquiry (5 min)

Interpretation to: EN, ES, FR

PART 2: International Cooperation and alternative policies for tackling tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering

April 26, 16.30-18.45 – European Parliament Building, Rue Wiertz 60, Room ASP 1G2

Alternative policies have been developed in several Southern countries in response to the global problem of tax havens, often collectively by social movements. The experience of Latin American governments in implementing these proposals demonstrate that statements such as “There is no alternative” (TINA) are false. This debate will outline such international experiences and discuss how we can demand a better political response in Europe to the problem of tax havens.

Opening: Miguel Urban, Shadow Rapporteur for the Panama Papers Committee of Inquiry (5 min)
Panel input (30 min):

Diego Borja (former Minister of Economic Policies of Ecuador): Increasing accountability and transparency in the public sector: Ecuador’s referendum against the use of tax havens
Manuel Canelas (President of Inquiry Committee of the Parliament of Bolivia on Panama Papers): Bolivia’s response to the Panama Papers
Susana Ruiz (Oxfam-Intermon): Alternative policies to tackling tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering

Discussion (25 min)
Coffee Break (10 min)
Panel input (30 min):

Manuel Montes (South Centre): South-South cooperation on tax policies
María Fernanda Espinosa (Ecuador’s Ambassador to the UN): Ecuador’s proposal for an international taxation body at the UN
Richard Murphy (City University/TJN): International cooperation for Country-by-Country Reporting

Discussion (25 min)
Closing: Marina Albiol, Member of the Panama Papers Committee of Inquiry (5 min)

Interpretation available to all EU languages

PART 3: Public Forum: The Rip Off: From Tax Havens & Dirty Money

April 26, 19:30-21:30 – CGSP Union – Rue du Congrès 17-19, 1000 Brussels

The evening event brings the debate about tax havens to a broader public by asking questions on who in society pays their fair share and how the problem of tax havens is linked to increasing inequality, here in Europe and around the globe.

Arrival/reception with coffee, drinks and snacks (20 min)
Tax dumping in Belgium, France and beyond. How to fight tax havens globally?

Opening: Stelios Kouloglou, Member of the Panama Papers Committee of Inquiry (5 min)
Panel input (30 minutes):

Marco Van Hees, Workers Party of Belgium (PTB)
Diego Borja (former Minister of Economic Policies of Ecuador)
NGO representative (tbc)

Panel and audience – general discussion (50 min)
Closing/summarising remarks: Fabio de Masi: vice-Chair of the Panama Papers Committee of Inquiry (10 min)

Interpretation to: EN, FR

PART 4: Tackling money laundering, tax evasion and tax avoidance from a left perspective

April 27, 08.30-11.00 – European Parliament Building, Rue Wiertz 60 (1047), Room ASP 1G2

Left-wing parties and movements agree that base erosion and profit shifting schemes have been triggered by capitalistic globalisation and by the free movement of capital within the EU. These phenomena have contributed to the growth of inequality by depriving countries of revenue needed to provide universal, free, public and quality education and health care services, social services, affordable housing and transportation and to build infrastructure essential to achieve social development and economic growth. The tax evasion and avoidance scandals highlight the failure of the current economic system and its inability to solve the problem.

Opening: Rina Ronja Kari, Shadow Rapporteur on the 5th anti-money laundering directive (5 min)
Panel input (45 min):

Eric Bocquet and Alain Bocquet, Communist Party of France (PCF)
Ricardo Oliveira, Portuguese Communist Party (PCP)
Marco Van Hees, Workers Party of Belgium (PTB)
Miguel Ongil, MP for the Region of Madrid (Podemos)

Discussion (30 min)
Coffee break (15 min)

Workshop: Network of left parties for tax justice (50 min): some parties from the left have coordinated actions in the past for the purpose of tackling money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion; their experience can serve as a starting point for a bigger discussion to be made between all guests on how to coordinate actions in the future.

Input by Fabio De Masi (Die Linke), Arnold Merkies (SP), Justin Turpel (Déi Lenk)
Discussion and/or smaller working groups

Closing: Miguel Viegas, Member of the Panama Papers Committee of Inquiry (5 min)

Interpretation available to all EU languages

 

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