Germany: Merkel and Cameron lay groundwork for tax evasion fight

14th Apr 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron have called
on G8 countries to show “global leadership” on tax evasion. The pair also want urgent
European reform.

Merkel and Cameron also spent Saturday, the second day of their meeting, discussing global
topics of concern such as the war in Syria, and Iran’s nuclear program.

The trip was part of Cameron’s push to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the European
Union, and create substantial reform within the bloc itself. According to a Downing Street
spokesperson, both Merkel and Cameron have a similar vision on the latter.

“On the EU, the PM [Cameron] set out his approach to European reform, following on from
his speech in January. They agreed on the urgent need to make Europe more competitive and
flexible and talked about ways to achieve this. And they discussed how we can work together
in the run up to the May and June European Councils to make further progress,” said the

Earlier this year, Cameron announced plans to negotiate a new settlement for Britain and
hold a referendum on EU membership by 2017 – if he wins re-election in the mean time. His
Conservative Party includes a strong euroskeptic wing.

Both Merkel and Cameron want the EU to have an “ambitious offer on the table” when talks
get underway with the US on trade deals later this year.

Central to Saturday’s discussions was a plan to take the issue of tax evasion to upcoming bloc
meetings. Both Merkel and Cameron hope to convince other world leaders to unify standards
for taxing international businesses at the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland, to be
held in June.

“[They discussed] especially how the G8 countries should show global leadership by taking
concrete action on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance and making clear that everyone
must pay their fair share of taxes,” said Downing Street.

“They will also work together at the May European Council and the G20 to achieve wider
progress on global standards for the exchange of tax information.”

The talks come a week after several Western newspapers published leaked information
pointing to offshore accounts held by 130,000 prominent figures around the world.

Many of the tax havens named in the so called “Offshore Leaks” are British sovereign

The German and British leaders focused on international problems like Syria’s ongoing civil
war, the security handover in Afghanistan, and Iran’s nuclear program. Cameron updated
Merkel on recent trilateral talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President
Asif Ali Zardari.

“On Syria, they share grave concerns about the deteriorating situation and the ongoing
bloodshed. They agreed that the UK and Germany should keep working together to find ways
to increase the pressure on [Syrian President] Assad and his regime while also strengthening
the moderate opposition,” according to the Downing Street spokesperson.

The two-day meeting began on Friday, with Cameron and his family staying at Meseburg
Palace, a guesthouse of the German government, about 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) southwest
of Berlin. The trip returns one Merkel took in 2010 to Chequers, the Buckinghamshire retreat
of the British prime minister.

jr/kms (dpa, AP)


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