Tax evasion: the hidden monster of EU integrity/integration crisis

feltepve-sculpture-art-market-budapest-ervin-loranth-herve-2Repeatedly we heard that the EU is going through an institutional crisis in which the project in itself is not working and is not resilient to face current challenges. It presents EU as a failed project that needs to be replaced by new isolationist codes.

Nowadays, instability is the transversal line that is beneath any political message or proposal within the Union. Nations submerged in financial-economic-cultural panic as well as citizens accompanied by the feeling of loosing traditional EU safety codes. It´s good to remember that it was precisely security that led to European integration project after 2d World War. However, it´s currently used as the best argumentation to back anti-integration positions: preserve national security.

Anti-globalist, anti-European, racism, xenophobia and isolationism gather around a main goal: attribute to the EU the responsibility of all national and global crises using a populist message based in a nationalist ideology. However, the EU is not responsible for global crises and has not contributed directly to their emerge. A clear example is global financial crisis that strong links with U.S. creates a devastating impact within Europe. Is it true, bad management, no strategic focus and private interests make address the challenges without vision based in austerity rather than investment. Production was not pump into national economies reducing consumption considerably, inflating rates of unemployment and debt. Having as a direct consequence reduction of consumer purchasing power. Low GDP growth perspectives have reached a historical point and will be like that for the next years. A general sense of chaos at State finances control level creates panic at individual and market level.

In addition, migration global crisis is distorting national systems contributing negatively to alleviate the panic from European citizens to be “invaded” by refugees. EU budget, national budgets and in general national systems are prepared to receive refugees in a normal basis not for an emergency crisis. Indeed, the overwhelming number of people fleeing from the homes is of unmanageable magnitude that overpasses the capacity of the countries to absorb it.

Finally the 3d element that is also creating panic is the threat of violent attacks. Paris, Nice, Brussels were the turning point to hang on to any proposal that could make them return to their comfort area of safety and multicultural goal.

These three stages of panic within EU citizens are absolutely legitimised and justify their action towards structural changes. However, drop out of the EU is not necessary justified; safety comes from having stronger defences on borders and joint action towards a solid financial system. Is it here where we find that there are other interests diverse from just people´s concern. Find a way-out to crises would not be based on a proposal about isolationism and anti-integration but by a sound alternative model for a reformed Union. Where relies the mystery of this drastic and old-fashioned nationalist solution? Private interests: hedge funds and tax evasion. Yes! Donors determinate to finish with EU strict regulation have financed Leave campaign. Almost immediately after the campaign Arron Banks –main donor of Nigel Farage, spent £7.5m- was accused to have offshore investment in the British Virgin Islands and Gibraltar. Simply as that: the real goal for leaving the Union has been get rid of the EU regulatory framework and make easier there fraudulent maneuverer for tax evasion and freedom for hedge funds operations. Deregulation creates a direct benefit to private interests.

In the end, there is not a real integration crisis but an integrity crisis in which populist political leaders are using it to get benefits for their own private/ideological goals. In the case of Brexit: financial deregulation and for an eventual Frexit: achievement of nationalist goals around Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia.

European Union crisis is not about integration but it s about integrity from leaders and donors; therefore ethics, transparency and accountability are the only tools to become resilient in a framework of integrity and union. GO!

*Sculpture:“Popped Up” by artist Ervin Loránth Hervé.Széchenyi Square in Budapest, Hungary, and was one of the highlights for the Art Market Budapest 2014 international contemporary art fair.


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