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Katainen Says EU Needs to Step Up Efforts to Tackle Tax Evasion

The European Union needs to step up efforts to fight tax evasion and coordinate policies to ensure equal opportunities to companies in the 27 member states, Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said.

“Pragmatic coordination of tax policies will reduce harmful tax competition and level the playing field for Europe’s businesses,” he said today in an e-mailed statement ahead of a meeting by EU leaders. “We should consider making tax policy coordination -- not harmonization of tax rates -- an integral part of the renewed economic policy coordination system.”

Regulators around the world are increasing scrutiny of profit shifting by multinational companies, including Apple Inc. and Google Inc., as a recession in the euro area reduces government revenue, pushing policy makers to cut spending in a bid to balance budgets. Global corporate tax systems have “serious problems,” EU’s Taxation Commissioner Algirdas Semeta said in a Bloomberg TV interview. The issues will be discussed at EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels today, he said.

“We cannot afford a trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) worth of tax revenue to fall through the cracks created by tax evasion and fraud,” Katainen said. “What we need most is transparency and openness between banks, businesses and states.”

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