Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

IREF Europe - Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

Fiscal competition
and economic freedom


10 Times More Economic Growth In The UK Than In France

According to the latest statistics, the economic growth in the United Kingdom has reached 3% (annual rate) in the last quarter of 2013. This is the highest rate since 2007. For comparison, the French growth was 0.3% yoy (2013).

Latvia : The Only EU Country Meeting The Maastricht Criteria

This little county on the shores of the Baltic Sea will become the 18th member of the Eurozone. That is well deserved since Latvia meets all of the Maastricht criteria. Its public debt amount to 40% of its GDP compare to 70% in Germany and 90% in the Eurozone. The maximum public debt rate (...)

World’s Most Admired Companies

Fortune has ranked the 50 most admired companies worldwide. Of course, Apple, Google, Amazon and Coca Cola are above all others. Among non-US companies can be found two German companies (BMW and Volkswagen), one Swiss (Nestlé), one from South Korea (Samsung) and one Irish (Accenture). But none (...)

IREF launches a petition against a new European treaty

IREF launches a petition against a new European treatyThe European economy is under threat. But it is not by producing another treaty that it will be saved. In order to restore the trust required to produce economic progress, the states first must enforce the existing treaties, in particular the Maastricht rules on a 3 per cent deficit and a debt (...)

EU Commission is tracking tax fraud and evasion

Minimum sanctions for tax crimes, a cross-border tax identification number, an EU tax-payer’s charter and stronger common measures against tax havens are some of the measures proposed by the Commission in a recently edited press (...)

The French alternative to austerity

The French Cour des Comptes (National Audit Office) published this Monday a new report on public finances. Without surprise, the ambition to limit the budget deficit to 4.4% of GDP in 2012 is confirmed to be unrealistic. An extra six to ten billion euro would be necessary in order to meet this (...)

Social contributions increase in France

Starting July 1, French taxpayers will have to pay an extra 2% on top of the "Generalized Social Contribution" that was so far set at 13.5%. This brings the new rate of the General Social Contribution on labor and capital incomes to (...)

Monsieur Hollande’s first reform

The first significant policy move from the newly elected president is the repeal of part of his predecessor’s pension reform. As promised during the electoral campaign, President Hollande is bringing the legal age for retirement back from 62 to 60 years for those who started working at an early (...)

IMF Director Christine Lagarde giving lessons to Greek people

In an interview with the Guardian, Madam Lagarde says it is time for Greece to pay back and insists on the fairness of it – “Greeks have to pay taxes now and assume their past mistakes,” she says, adding that “As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to (...)

European Parliament adopts the financial transaction tax proposal

EU Parliament had been calling for a financial transaction tax (FTT) for nearly two years and, unsurprisingly, it has adopted last week the proposal drafted by the Commission. One of the arguments that prevailed in the debate that took place at the Parliament and resulted in the adoption of the (...)

Americans pay more in taxes than on housing food and clothing combined

According to the Tax Foundation, this year U.S. citizens will pay more than $4 trillion in total federal, state and local taxes. That sum “is $152 billion, or 3.9%, more than they will spend on housing, food, and clothing combined. The data shows that from 1929 to 1980 tax liabilities grew from (...)

UK’s House of Lords warning against the EU financial transaction tax

The UK Peers have attacked plans by the European Commission for a Europe-wide financial transaction tax, warning that if introduced, the UK could account for 71% of the revenue it would raise. It is unclear, they said, why the financial sector should be targeted, and the FTT proposal’s reversal (...)

Spanish tax reform undermines real estate market

Everything seems to go wrong in Spain and Madrid’s policy to achieve broader deficit reduction targets looks inappropriate. The Spanish government’s introduction of new legislation to restrict interest deductions for taxation purposes could further reduce the flow of international capital into (...)

The financial transaction tax will reduce Member States’ GNI contributions to the EU budget by 50%

If adopted as a new own resource of the EU budget the financial transaction tax (FTT) will significantly reduce the contributions of member states to the EU budget, according to estimates presented yesterday by the European Commission. Member States’ contributions would be slashed by €54bn in (...)

Canada elected number one country to do business

Canada was recently elected by Forbes magazine number one country in the world to do business. Among other things, its corporate tax rate (federal and provincial rates combined) is at 25%, the lowest among G7 countries. But some provinces in Canada still have to be convinced that this is a move (...)

Spain Becomes One of Europe’s Highest Taxed Countries

The Rajoy administration in Spain announced two months ago one of the largest tax increases in recent Spanish history. It aims to raise 6 billion euros ($7.9 billion) — along with a spending cut of nearly 9 billion euros ($11.8 billion). The measure mainly consists of a so-called solidarity (...)

The Price of The State

The Price of The StateWe all receive from and give to the State. But exactly how much ? An initiative from INESS, a slovakian think tank, helps citizen to quickly get an approximation of the price of the state to them.

France is going one step further with the Tobin tax project

France is going one step further with the Tobin tax projectOn February 16th, 2012 the French Parliament has adopted its version of the so-called Tobin tax; a version that, some says, is partially based on the stamp tax levied in the City. The tax, to be effective August 1st, will be levied on all transactions involving equities from a French company if (...)

France is increasing taxes on capital gains

France is increasing taxes on capital gainsThe first of February marks another harsh date for French real estate owners. From this day there are new taxation rules on capital gains realized with the sale of a second home or a land. While previously the capital gains were exonerated if the real estate is owned since more than 15 years, (...)

ECB and quantitative easing

Will the European Central Bank turn to Quantitative Easing ? This is the question haunting all analysts and governments and, if one were to make a bet, better put it on the YES answer. Yes, the ECB will most probably end up doing just what the FED has been doing for years. The main reasons put (...)

Europe is heading back into recession

According to a recent economic outlook from Standard&Poor’s, high frequency indicators in the past month continue to depict Europe’s “darkening economic landscape”. Apart from being a problem by itself, a recession is going to aggravate the debt crisis. Indeed, most of the EU member states’ (...)

Engineering the Financial Crisis Systemic Risk and the Failure of Regulation

Engineering the Financial Crisis Systemic Risk and the Failure of RegulationIn one of the first studies critically to examine the Basel Accords, Engineering the Financial Crisis reveals the crucial role that bank capital requirements and other government regulations played in the recent financial crisis. Jeffrey Friedman and Wladimir Kraus argue that by encouraging (...)

Is Germany untouchable?

Until now, the debt crisis seemed to spare the biggest European economy. But the country everybody is relying on starts to meet difficulties to refund its debt. The sale of German benchmark bonds on Wednesday turned to a disaster and the Bundesbank has been forced to hold on to record amounts (...)

Her wish has been fulfilled

Her wish has been fulfilledFrench richest woman Liliane Bettencourt has been caught up by the fiscal authorities for tax avoidance. Mrs Bettencourt, they reveal, has an offshore bank accounts and acquired hiddenly an island on the Seychelles. She will now have to pay some additional €108 million to the State. Given her (...)

Concern over future tax rates is one of the main reasons for reduced investor confidence

Concern over future tax rates is one of the main reasons for reduced investor confidenceA must-read piece by Alan Meltzer in The Wall Street Journal explains why the economic response to increased government spending is so different from the response predicted by Keynesian models. By creating uncertainty about future tax policies, excessive regulation and redistribution, (...)

William Niskanen passed away

William Niskanen passed awayWilliam A. Niskanen, chairman emeritus and a distinguished senior economist at the Cato Institute, has died at the age of 78. Niskanen was the chairman of the Cato Institute for 23 years, following service as a member and acting chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. (...)

Coalition for Tax Competition Urges End to Taxpayer Subsidies for Paris-Based OECD

The Coalition for Tax Competition asked members of the US Congress to cut the $100 million taxpayer subsidy to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Citing the OECD’s record as an opponent of tax competition, the letter released by the coaltion argues that US taxpayers (...)

The truth about the "Swedish model"

An excellent report published by the Finnish think-tank Libera Foundation offers a novel historical perspective on the development of the Swedish economy.Contrary to the commonly- held view, this report is explaining the success of the Swedish model is not due to the Welfare State. Rather, it (...)

Why did Slovakia vote against expanded EFSF?

Why did Slovakia vote against expanded EFSF?Slovakia’s parliament became the first in the eurozone to vote against bailing out indebted economies. The final vote on approving new powers for the €440bn European financial stability facility failed with only 55 of the parliament’s 150 MPs voting in favour, causing the coalition government of (...)

Standard & Poor’s has cut Italy’s credit rating

Standard & Poor's has cut Italy's credit ratingThe eurozone’s third-largest economy is being sucked deeper into the sovereign debt crisis, since one of the major credit rating agencies downgraded yesterday its credit rating. S&P downgraded Italy to "A/A-1" from a "A+/A-1+" grade because of "Italy’s weakening economic growth prospects", (...)

Obama would ask more from people

According to the New York Times, President Obama will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year. The investor Warren Buffett inspired the name of Obama’s proposal. The proposal adds a new and populist feature to Mr. Obama’s effort to raise the political (...)

Two French banks downgraded by Moody’s

Suspected to be too vulnerable because of their "Greec holdings" two of the biggest French banks, Société Générale and Crédit Agricole have been downgraded by the credit rating agency Moody’s.

Pierre Garello on Bloomberg TV

Pierre Garello on Bloomberg TVIREF’s Director for Europe Pierre Garello has been invited to speek about public debt on Bloomberg TV. You can see the interview here.

Greek economy shrinking

Greek economy shrinkingIt seems that the forecast of a 3.5% decrease in Greece GDP in 2011 was too optimistic. The finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said last week that the output is likely to contract by more than 4.5%. Also, the public deficit - the main symptom of Greece’s economic illness - is running towards (...)

German Bundestag rallies against euro bailout fund

German Bundestag rallies against euro bailout fundThe upper chamber of the German parliament is due to vote on the new expanded powers of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) on 23 September. At that point, early polls on an upcoming vote in the German Bundestag show growing opposition to the EU’s crucial bailout fund and its (...)

USA sovereign debt rating downgraded

USA sovereign debt rating downgradedStandard&Poor’s, one of the three major credit rating agencies downgraded on Friday the USA credit rating, previously noted AAA, the highest possible level. The new rating AA+ is translating the worry of experts about the sustainability of US public finances, in the context of ever (...)

Another step towards the end of financial privacy

Another step towards the end of financial privacySwitzerland, Luxembourg and Austria representatives recently said they would relax key bank secrecy laws to meet growing international demands for change. Their announcements followed similar moves by Belgium, Liechtenstein and Andorra. This, however, would be done for the moment on a "case by (...)

French banks under review

French banks under reviewThe credit rating agency Moody’s said it might downgrade the credit ratings of three of the largest French banks because of their exposure to the Greek debt crisis. According to the agency, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole could face one-notch downgrades and Societe Generale could see a two-notch (...)

Third Annual Meeting of the OECD Global Tax Forum

More than 100 member countries representatives participated in the annual meeting of the Global Tax Forum in Bermuda. The Global Forum is charged with the monitoring and peer review of the implementation of the standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. It became (...)

8th European Resource Bank in Yalta

8th European Resource Bank in YaltaIREF participated to the 8th European Resource Bank held in Yalta, Ukraine. Representatives from 50 think tanks joined the event and discussed the necessity to foster cooperation in order to fight fiscal harmonization in Europe.

Pierre Garello’s paper on European taxation published in the Bulgarian media

Pierre Garello's paper on European taxation published in the Bulgarian mediaOne of the biggest Bulgarian newspapers Ce?? published an article from IREF’s board member Pierre Garello. The article is presenting the main conclusions of our Yearbook on European Taxation 2011. You can read the paper here.

IREF’s Yearbook on European Taxation quoted in Spanish media

IREF's Yearbook on European Taxation quoted in Spanish mediaThe Spanish newspaper published an article from IREF’s fellow Angel Martin, with reference to our Yearbook on European Taxation 2011. You can read the paper here.

Will Finland oppose EU bailout of Portugal?

This seems not totally unrealistic since, unlike other euro zone countries, Finland requires approval from parliament before taking part in EU bailouts. And without unanimous approval from EU member states, there will be no bailout...

EU investing to stimulate Internet R&D

The first phase of a €600 million public-private partnership on the Internet of the Future (FI-PPP) was launched today by European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes. The project aims to stimulate internet innovation, and reposes on the argument that “if we don’t invest and innovate first, our (...)

Ten Thousand Commandments 2011

It is often rightly pointed out that the EU has (so far) no power to tax. True. But it has the power to regulate and uses it! If both, taxation and regulation have a profound impact on companies’ and, if only indirectly, on consumers’ decisions, taxation attracts more public attention largely (...)

EU budget keeps growing in 2012

EU budget keeps growing in 2012While several EU member states are facing an unprecedented sovereign debt crisis and others are struggling to cut their spending to avoid the crash, the EU Budget and Financial Programming Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski announced that the draft budget for 2012 represents € 132.7 bn in payments (...)

France – one more step towards planned economy

France – one more step towards planned economyThe French government is considering the possibility to force companies that have paid higher dividends to their shareholders in 2010 and have more than 50 employees to pay a € 1000 bonus to each of their employees. As usual, the details of the plan are still being debated: will it be mandatory (...)

France less industrialized than Greece

France less industrialized than GreeceNo, this is not science fiction, but recent statistics from the most respectable Eurostat. With the exception of Cyprus and Luxembourg, France is the European country with the lowest value added by the industrial sector – 12.4% of GDP in 2009. To compare, the EU27 average is 18% of GDP and the (...)

What’s the difference between New Zealand and Singapore apart from a 6% GDP growth advantage for the latter?

What's the difference between New Zealand and Singapore apart from a 6% GDP growth advantage for the latter?Former Finance Minister of New Zealand, Hon Sir Roger Douglas, recently shared his analysis of the present situation in New Zealand, contrasting it with the lot of their neighbors from Singapore. On every grounds (public finances, growth, health care, education) Singapore is faring better. (...)

Fiscal illusion soon to be swept away by the rigor of the numbers

Fiscal illusion soon to be swept away by the rigor of the numbersIn the New York Times of March 5th, economist Tyler Cowen gives his opinion on the situation prevailing in the United States - with a debt of $9 trillion (€ 6 435 billion). Citizens, he explains, are victims of a fiscal illusion and politicians know it. To get out of that vicious circle, Cowen (...)

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