European Leaders Pledge (Yet Again) To Crackdown On Offshore Tax Havens

European Leaders have engaged in yet more sabre rattling over offshore banking, with a seven-point plan agreed in Berlin calling for ”sanctions” against ”uncooperative jursidictions”.
At a meeting of G20 Nations the European representatives pledged to end tax havens by applying uniform rules to the worldwide financial markets.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy affirmed that he wanted to ”put a stop to tax havens”. Furthermore he unveiled plans for the next G20 summit in April to ”overhaul the system”, with sanctions to reign in non compliers.

It remains to be seen whether other nations in the G20 group including Brazil, India and China will be as enthusiastic as the Europeans in this latest crusade.

For some this latest bout of verbal swordplay is just a way of sidestepping the main issue at hand: mismanagement of the global financial crisis. Frederick Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy reckoned the antics were little more than finger pointing.

“They are pointing the finger at tax havens but the
problems we’re having in the financial system have very little
to do with tax havens..They couldn’t agree on something more substantial so
they went for the easy targets: tax havens and hedge funds. It’s
all a smokescreen.”

The British delegates must certainly have felt like fat kids caught with their finger in the pie since is former British colonies (and some still under direct control) which are hoarding the vast majority of offshore monies.

UK chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling held hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in calling for the  Swiss government stop allowing foreigners to hide their wealth and avoid tax, yet made little mention of tax havens linked to the British.

“If it wants to be part of the international community,
it’s got to be open,” Darling was quoted as saying.

With each government going for its own slice of the pie and personal ‘most wanted’ list, it may be hard for a group with such disperse motives to reach a meaningful agreement any time soon.

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