Nobody is surprised anymore by leaks that uncover how the world’s richest people stash their money in tax havens. In 2016 we saw the Panama Papers, and now we have a new leak: the Paradise Papers, naming the Queen of England, US president Donald Trump, the Russian state, multinational giants and celebrities but also showing the connections between them.
The real scandal, as Glenn Greenwald said after the Panama papers came out, is that all these actions are legal. We are not surprised because we are fully aware of the lack of transparency among the powerful, the rich and governments. This is a direct consequence of our faded or absent democracies: people have limited electoral power, especially within the EU.
The Snowden revelations, and the Panama and Paradise papers, show us what we’re up against. Keeping legal loopholes for these tax havens is not only unethical, but offers only an economic benefit to those hiding their money away. Tax havens are yet another example of the EU keeping the status quo, looking away while allowing elites continue their extractive behaviour.
The EU must set the example and end tax havens in its members’ peripheral territories. All options to do this should be kept on the table: seizure of assets, travel bans and capital controls.
But decision makers won’t do this on their own — we need to push them to do it, to organise to make the alternative a reality. At DiEM25, we are struggling for a fair and democratised EU. We want to have you on board and hear your views… so that the next Paradise papers find us even more united!
Aris is a member and volunteer of the DiEM25 movement.
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