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Tackling tax secrecy on the continent

24 February 2014 | by Luke Harman

I’ve been waiting with bated breath ever since the breakthrough in our UK Russian dolls campaign last year, to see if the European Union would follow suit. And in the last week, we’ve had a resounding success.

Two high level committees of the European Parliament have proposed a new Act to tackle all forms of money laundering – including tax dodging. And central to this would be the creation of public registers, which could reveal real owners of all European companies and trusts.

We couldn’t have done it without you

This is a great step forward in the fight against phantom firms that rob poor countries of billions of dollars.

And it wouldn’t have happened without our supporters who helped force a strong UK position last October and who have written to key MEPs this year.

However, this is a lengthy process, with many hurdles yet to clear.

The biggest obstacle is the position of other EU states.  We know the UK supports public registers, as does France, but there are other countries that are far less ambitious and would keep company ownership hidden. We cannot let this happen.

So what now?

We will stay glued to the process and keep up the pressure both at home and in Europe.

At home: our own public register must be implemented properly to ensure it is fit for purpose.

In Europe: the UK must use its political capital to convince other European countries that these public registers are a must, in order to give tax dodgers nowhere to hide.

Inspire your church

Your support has been vital – thank you. If you want to help equip your church to get involved in the campaign for tax justice, you can find a range of resources here.


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 About the author

Luke Harman

Luke Harman is Christian Aid's campaigns officer.