Paul Tang

Chair of the EU tax committee Paul Tang: ”Taxation is all about fairness” 

The Finnish progressive think tank Kalevi Sorsa Foundation organized the second Tax Conference Veroareena in Helsinki on 2 February 2024. Chair of the European Parliament subcommittee on taxation Paul Tang (S&D) gave the keynote speech of the conference. He discussed the EU tax agenda of the next European Parliament term. Video of his presentation can be watched on our YouTube channel. 

Tang, a PhD in Economics from University of Amsterdam, deems the significance of taxation is ever growing as EU countries need to invest in green transition and support of Ukraine. There is also a momentum for EU enlargement that could require additional funding. Tackling tax avoidance and taxing capital are useful solutions for this. Labor income of high earners is taxed at higher rates than capital income and this difference should be closed down. 

Dr Tang also discussed his own role in raising discussion on tax avoidance and harmful tax practices in his native country the Netherlands that has been often called a tax haven. Due to the recent changes e.g. the Netherlands based oil company Shell has begun paying corporate income tax in its home country. A key reason for this change has been the fact that people have experienced the tax avoidance of multinational enterprises unjust. ”Taxation is all about fairness”, Tang concluded. 

Tang highlighted the lack of democratic scrutiny in international tax policy. E.g. the tax decisions in the EU must be done unanimously, which allows the EU tax havens to block necessary reforms. Tang regarded increasing the role of majority voting in tax matters as an indispensable solution to strengthen democracy. It would also increase the actual sovereignty of countries such as Finland to determine their own tax policy. 

Paul Tang’s speech was also discussed in the largest Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. The programme of the Tax Conference Veroareena 2024 as well as the video stream of the whole event are on the conference website. The next conference will be organized early in 2025. 

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