What is the link between Tax Justice and Poverty?
COMECE, together with the Jesuit Provincial Conferences from Europe and Africa, held a conference on Wednesday 11 December 2019 on the link between “Tax justice and poverty”. Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto: “taxes should be thesteering wheel of the economy towards ecological and social justice”.
The event gathered selected representatives of the EU Commission, Church and civil society, experts on fair taxation in Europe and Africa, as well as MEPs of different political groups, including Evelyn Regner (S&D), Sven Giegold (EFA/Greens) and Markus Ferber (EPP).
Participants discussed the recent research report compiled by the Jesuit tax justice and poverty network, showing the relationship between tax justice and poverty in Germany, Kenya and Zambia. They highlighted the capability these Sub-Saharan African countries would have to survive without development aid if they could tax effectively and fairly the profits of all economic activities on their territory.
The event also focused on the role of the EU in fighting against corporate tax avoidance, while ensuring a fair balance between taxation of private wealth and labour. Participants exchanged views on policy coherence of taxation across all aspects of EU-Sub-Saharan countries’ relations. In this context, ways were proposed for the EU to build up capacities in developing countries, allowing them to mobilise their domestic resources more effectively.
The General Secretary of COMECE, Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto, who also took part in the discussion, highlighted the need to rediscover the concept of the common good and“to go beyond the calls of distributive justice in order to finally promoting contributive justice. Taxes – he added- don’t only allow states to raise money, but also help them to steer the economy towards the common good and a just society”.
Finally participants reflected on what the Church can do to advance tax literacy and tax advocacy in Europe and Africa, and encouragedthe EU Council to play a more constructive role in negotiations on taxation policies.
Already in 2009, EU Bishops proposed to the European Union to set up an EU-wide Financial Transaction Tax, while in 2017 they published a reflection on private investment in development.