WORLD

EP calls for financial police force, intelligence unit

The European Parliament (EP) on Tuesday adopted a detailed roadmap toward fairer and more effective taxation, and tackling financial crimes.

Covering various findings and recommendations, the report was accepted by 505 votes to 63 with 87 abstentions.

"They range from overhauling the system to deal with financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance.

"... Notably by improving cooperation in all areas between the multitude of authorities involved, to setting up new bodies at EU and global level," the EP said in a press release.

The proposal includes establishing a financial police force, financial intelligence unit, anti-money laundering watchdog and global tax body within the UN.

The EP report noted that seven member countries -- Belgium, Greek Cypriot administration, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands -- show characteristics of a tax haven.

"Golden visas and passports should be phased out, with those offered by Malta and [Greek] Cyprus singled out for their weak due diligence," it said.

Last year, the EP decided to establish a special committee on these issues, following news reports of Luxleaks, the Panama Papers, Football leaks and the Paradise papers.

Tuesday's proposal also said whistleblowers and investigative journalists must be much better protected and an EU fund to help investigative journalists should be set up.

"Member states are not doing enough and in the EU, the Council is clearly the weakest link," Petr Jezek, chair of the special committee, said.

"Without political will, there can be no progress," he said. "Europeans deserve better."

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