Protokoll ER

All Europeans should do at home what would serve all Europeans best

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – As a European citizen elected in Switzerland, I am grateful that the Socialist Group has allowed me to speak in favor of this very important report. Dirk Van der Maelen did a very good job in the interest of our common will to ensure that our states are not prevented from obtaining the resources they need to work for all their citizens.

More than 80% of Swiss people pay taxes on their income or fortune as the law requires. It is unfair to them and to all other Europeans who do the same that we and other countries have legislation that allows a few people not to pay their fair taxes. For fair and equal treatment of all, we should follow the recommendations in the report.

We might develop a famous sentence from the philosopher Kant and say that all Europeans should do at home what would serve all Europeans best. That philosophical point shows that it is in the interest of none of us that legislation anywhere empowers a minority of privileged people and companies not to follow the rules that apply to everybody. Nothing can be in the interests of the majority of the Swiss, Austrians, Luxembourgers or British that would enable a few others not to follow the general rules for all of us.

As a young socialist I remember that one of the best things the Socialist Party did in Switzerland was between 1978 and 1984 when we took a popular initiative to change the banking system exactly as Mr Van der Maelen has suggested. We failed in 1984 as the vote was only 25% in favor, but it is positive that since then the Swiss Government has changed its policy. The report encourages change, which is why we should support it.

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