(May 2013) France and Germany have agreed joint steps to speed up the adoption of legislation to fight tax evasion in the European Union and the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA is seen as a model. Tax-related issues are top of the agenda when EU leaders meet in Brussels today Wednesday. Herman Van Rompuy, European Council president, said last month that a trillion euros - - the size of the Spanish GDP, the Eurozone's fourth-largest economy - - are lost in tax evasion and tax avoidance every year.
(May 2013) The solar photovoltaic (PV) market is poised to rise from the ashes of its 2011 crisis and grow to $155bn in 2018, as market forces engineer a turnaround to a healthy 10.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The sun set on Suntech, the aggressive Chinese market leader in March when it filed for bankruptcy, amidst fraud allegations. Meanwhile, a study commissioned by the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy estimated that up to 242,000 EU jobs could be sacrificed by punitive duties imposed by the EU on China, over three years. Karel De Gucht, EU trade commissioner, is targeting trade that was valued at €21bn in Chinese solar products exported to Europe in 2011. De Gucht has recommended that such products face duties averaging 47% after deciding that Chinese manufacturers illegally dumped their products, or sold them below cost, in Europe.
(May 2013) The International Monetary Fund has said Cyprus, a Eurozone member, has a realistic chance of posting some growth again in two years. But it warned that the country's current austerity program had to be followed through. In a staff report, the IMF said it expected the Cypriot economy to expand by a modest 1.1% in 2015 after plunging 8.7% this year and a further 3.9% in 2014. It also forecast that unemployment in the country would reach 15.5% this year and peak at 16.9% next year.
(May 2013) Siemens, Europe's biggest industrial group, says it would make sense to build solar power plants in sunny countries in Europe rather than in cloudy ones. And wind turbines should be built in windy places.
(May 2013) Reuters reported last month that a few hours after midnight one Sunday in March, as negotiations over a rescue for Cyprus dragged into a second day, Pierre Moscovici, French finance minister, fell asleep. Most Eurozone ministers in Brussels that night failed to notice, continuing to pore over the details of the multi-billion-euro deal. It fell to Christine Lagarde, former French finance minister and currently head of the International Monetary Fund, to approach Moscovici and nudge him awake, according to witnesses at the March 24 talks. It was an apt symbol of the impact in Europe of President François Hollande's government, as it enters its second year of office.
(April 2013) Eurozone membership provides Germany with significant economic gains that more than compensate for any advantages from a return to the Deutschmark. The currency union's benefits remain even if Germany were to retain the euro and take a significant haircut on its loans to four Eurozone countries hit hard by financial or fiscal crisis. Up to 200,000 job losses are estimated in the long-term, according to a research study. This scenario is not counting the chaos that would erupt in a collapse of the monetary union and the short term impact would be bad. The forecasters focused their calculation solely on the long-term impact of the euro on the German economy.
(April 2013) At the start of 2013, despite setbacks from recent financial crises, investors remain bullish on China and the US, as well as on industries such as oil and gas, agribusiness, healthcare and information technology (IT). Yet their optimism about short-term gains in these categories is tempered by long-term concerns about structural weaknesses in the global economy.
(April 2013) Bayern Munich, the German football club, stunned Spain's Barcelona on Tuesday night with a 4-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. However, Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich's president, has been getting public attention for issues other than sport. He has admitted that he hid money in a Swiss bank account for years without paying taxes on it. It's still not clear exactly how much he was hiding, nor how much he owes in back taxes. But media reports suggest that amount could be several million euros. By turning himself in to tax authorities, Hoeness might get around a sentence which could have included a hefty fine or even a prison sentence. The issue of personal tax havens, tax evasion and massive corporate tax avoidance have been receiving serious attention in recent months from politicians and in France, Jérôme Cahuzac, the budget minister, resigned over allegations of tax fraud, holding a Swiss bank account and money laundering with funds later sent to Singapore to avoid disclosure. Germany, the UK and France are pushing the Group of Eight and the Group of Twenty countries to agree measures that would reduce corporate tax avoidance and earlier this month, Herman Van Rompuy, European Council president, said tax evasion and fraud had been put on the agenda of next month's summit of European Union leaders, saying the region could no longer afford to be complacent when about €1tn is lost in EU member states to tax evasion every year.
(April 2013) by Armando Mombelli, swissinfo.ch The foreign assault against Swiss banking secrecy continues – after the European Union and the United States, the G20 has joined the throng. Switzerland is ever more isolated after Luxembourg dropped its opposition to sharing bank data with its partners. In an opinion piece published by the French newspaper Le Monde on April 10, Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf defended Switzerland’s so-called clean money strategy, outlining the measures taken by the government to fight tax evasion. She pointed out that when Switzerland undertook reforms, it expected the international community to take note of the efforts made without launching another attack against the Swiss or threatening to take further retaliation measures. The same day, her hopes were doused when Luxembourg announced it would lift bank secrecy rules for European Union citizens who have savings based in the country from 2015 onwards. Austria, the only other staunch defender of banking secrecy within the EU, is also hinting it is ready to negotiate with Brussels.
(April 2013) Confusion and renewed uncertainty about the design and timing of EU banking union has been caused by the statements of finance ministers from some EMU core countries, especially Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's finance minister. These comments suggest that a Treaty change is viewed as necessary to establish a pan-European resolution regime and that such a regime, in turn, is a prerequisite for starting the single supervisory mechanism (SSM).