The World Today

Credibility of the European Commission. The Guardian, 3 January 2017

The president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, spent years in his previous role as Luxembourg’s prime minister secretly blocking EU efforts to tackle tax avoidance by multinational corporations, leaked documents reveal.

Years’ worth of confidential German diplomatic cables provide a candid account of Luxembourg’s obstructive manoeuvres inside one of Brussels’ most secretive committees.

The code of conduct group on business taxation was set up almost 19 years ago to prevent member states from being played off against one another by increasingly powerful multinational businesses, eager to shift profits across borders and avoid tax.

Little has been known until now about the workings of the committee, which has been meeting since 1998, after member states agreed a code of conduct on tax policies and pledged not to engage in “harmful competition” with one another.

However, the leaked cables reveal how a small handful of countries have used their seats on the committee to frustrate concerted EU action and protect their own tax regimes.

Efforts by a majority of member states to curb aggressive tax planning and to rein in predatory tax policies were regularly delayed, diluted or derailed by the actions of a few of the EU’s smallest members, frequently led by Luxembourg.

Previous: Tribune Newspaper, 7 September 2016

UNICEF reports that a total of 50 million children are either refugees, internally displaced inside their countries or migrants in search of a better life abroad due to gang violence and poverty.

UNICEF urges countries in the report to look at underage refugees and migrants as children “first and foremost,” who are especially vulnerable to violence and exploitation. It noted that children made up about half of the world’s refugees seeking shelter abroad in 2015, with 45 per cent of child refugees under the UN’s care coming from Syria and Afghanistan. The number of children travelling alone rose to 100,000 in 2015 – a three-fold increase from 2014.

Sexual assaults like those that took place in Cologne also appear to have happened in neighboring countries. When this means some spiral of silence is broken, could we then predict hundreds of further complaints in many other European countries?

Previous: 13 January 2016

Is the ever growing number of reported rapes and sexual assaults in Europe the result of the fact that the social silence around this phenomenon is broken? Are we facing a period of moral panic?

Previous: 11 January 2016

Many corporations spend almost as much money on marketing (communication) as they do on employees. What is the budget of the EU to work on its license to operate?

Previous: 8 January 2016

During festivities on New Years Eve tens of women have been assaulted and robbed in different German cities. Why is the debate in the media, among politicians and  the police, about the nationalities or countries of origin of the assaulters? Is that a relevant parameter? Or are age and gender of (more) importance?


2 Comments on “The World Today

  1. Even een leuk voorbeeldje van positief ‘framen’ delen .. De gemeente Leerdam meldt in het AD dat er ‘een aantal populieren worden gekapt. De bomen zijn kaprijp en vormen een gevaar.’ Als je weet dat het kappen van bomen vaak zoveel rumoer oplevert dat de communicatieadviseur z’n handen vol heeft aan bezwaarmakers en persvragen .. is dit een creatieve oplossing. Maar of het ook echt het issue oplost? Dat is de vraag!

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