The Malta Independent 21 February 2019, Thursday

Measures against tax competition not in Malta's interests - Alfred Sant

Monday, 21 January 2019, 08:28 Last update: about 1 month ago

There is an increasing trend in Europe to combat tax evasion by eliminating tax competition. Measures against tax competition between EU member states agreed upon by the traditional political parties in Europe as well within the European Commission undermine Malta’s interests, said Maltese MEP Alfred Sant and former Prime Minister Alfred Sant when addressing a Conference on the future of the eurozone at ‘Europe House’ Valletta.

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“This is definitely not in the interests of small EU states like Ireland and Malta who to date are in control of their sovereignty on taxation. Tax competition is the best tool that small EU states like Malta can use to compensate for the disadvantages they face vis-a-vis the larger EU continental member states like Germany and France. Malta’s biggest challenge in the coming months and years is to reconcile itself against money-laundering and tax evasion with the need to maintain tax flexibility to ensure we remain competitive in the single market.”

Alfred Sant  spoke on the uncertainty prevailing in the UK on Brexit negotiation.

“No one can predict what will happen in this regard but a ‘No Deal’ situation will likely have negative effects on Ireland, Holland, Malta and Belgium.”

The Maltese MEP said that two political currents  prevail at the moment in Europe. Germany favours the concept of a federal Europe with the same rules applying to all EU member states. Other member states insist on the need of a Europe of nations. This concept  is now attracting the likes of populist movements, especially in Italy and France, which are opposing the concept of a federal Europe.

Sant said the increasing social unrest around Europe is the greatest threat to the eurozone.

“We need to create a social Europe which cares for workers, self-employed, pensioners and those in need of social protection. This is eurozone’s greatest challenge at the moment. The European Parliament elections in May will give an indication on the future of the eurozone. It is clear that we need to create a social Europe based on the principles of social justice.”

The Maltese MEP said that the current discontent in France is the outcome of social injustices. Those who need most social protection feel they are carrying the country’s financial burdens whilst the French government is legislating in favour of society’s upper classes. Protests in France are not being organised by traditional political parties or trade union, but they are a popular expression of anger of those who feel abandoned by government.

“This has sparked the protests of the yellow vests who are expressing their disapproval across France hoping this provokes new social measures in favour of those in need.”

The Maltese MEP said that in the coming months the Maltese and Gozitans should sustain their confidence in Malta’s future whilst striving for a social Europe.

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