Transparency proposal would shame tax-dodging multinationals
Rigorous disclosure requirements are the latest in the European Union’s accelerating efforts to tax revenue that may be escaping levies through multinationals’ maneuvers, which range from offshore vehicles to company-specific deals with host countries in Europe and elsewhere. EU officials announced the effort (April 12) against a backdrop of outrage worldwide after a Panamanian firm’s 11.5-million papers were leaked, revealing how lawyers helped heads of state and wealthy individuals escape tax liabilities.
Champions of American exceptionalism, those who still believe their country’s historic circumstances are unique, face another disappointment in the summer ahead. The 2016 fight for the White House is not the only important battle for votes which has sunk to demeaning levels of superficiality and abuse. Britain’s June 23 referendum debate over its 43-year membership of the European Union (EU) is not doing well either.
When you go to the web address of Turkey's -once- largest newspaper Zaman, an error message pops up frequently: "404. Page not Found! We're sorry, but we can't find the page you were looking for." The automated message is more about a serious failure in Turkish democracy than merely a technical glitch: Turkey's largest independent newspaper was brutally taken over by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 4th and turned into a mouthpiece for him. Zaman's government-regulated new webpage gives errors, because many links from the original version are missing, and it is a work in progress. The progress in Turkey, however, does not seem to be towards a viable member of the European Union. Given the lack of meaningful pressure in response to this authoritarian turn, 404 Error can also apply to EU: Europe not Found!
Europe is struggling with a refugee crisis of epic proportions. Whether the various efforts to stem the tide will bring about a significant drop in the number of immigrants is yet unknown. But what already is clear: Germany, which has taken the brunt of the immigrants in Europe, has a Herculean task. A successful integration of the refugees may even decide over the political stablity of the largest country in Europe's center.
Euphoria in financial markets can burn off as fast as fireworks, an explosive flare-up and then, poof, gone. Many investors are wondering if the unprecedented initiatives by the European Central Bank, including negative interest rates, may be just like that, a cascade of fleeting embers. Others, though, think the restructuring underway as a consequence of “quantitative easing” has established the groundwork for sustainable recovery and growth within the European Union, albeit a trajectory of fits and starts buffeted by the global economy’s “gathering storm.”
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