Tax Regulation and Welfare in Internal and External Relations: Examining the European Union Approaches

Riina Pilke, Pekka Räsänen

Today's struggles of welfare states in Europe and elsewhere are intertwined with concentration and mobility of capital that enable aggressive corporate tax planning and tax avoidance. These dynamics are regarded as both developed and developing world challenges, which put at risk the capability of national tax systems to mobilise resources for social protection and development. Increasingly private sector is seen as a partial solution to narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor at local and state levels, but state control of different proxies of global supply chains for financing development requires thinking of the existing trade and market systems locally, regionally and globally. The EU is a supra-national actor that can have an impact on the ways trade, development and redistribution of resources interconnect for social outcomes. To pursue such measures externally, the EU must agree on common corporate taxation internally, which may contradict the liberal ideas of the European single market and competitiveness. We examine the EU's means to promote tax good governance and corporate taxation by investigating the EU Platform for Tax Good Governance, focusing on why it was established, what the conditions under which it has to sustain its operations are, and how the institutional entrepreneurs affect the platform's functionality. We argue that while joint tax initiatives are important, the lack of organisational information sharing, owing to both differing interests and a lack of culture to cross policy boundaries, has a negative impact on the effectiveness of tax promotion initiatives such as the platform.





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