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Youth employment and tax fraud: priorities at EU summit

Effective results are needed on tax fraud and youth employment to restore people´s trust in the EU, EP president Martin Schulz warned EU leaders at the opening of the European Council in Brussels on 22 May.

The EP president, Martin Schulz,  said there was no longer time for a long-term approach due to the disastrous social situation caused by the crisis in many European countries. "Young people are paying with their life chances for a crisis for which they are in no way responsible," he said.

Mr Schulz said measures such as the youth employment initiative should be launched as soon as possible and be sufficiently funded. "We must be just as resolute in combating youth unemployment today as European governments were in bailing out the banks," he said. "Our most important task is to ensure that young people have a future in Europe."

It would also be important to tackle tax fraud. Tax evasion costs Europe up to a trillion euros each year in lost tax revenues, which is enough money to pay off the debts of all member states within a decade, Mr Schulz said. He asked member states to commit to halving tax evasion by 2020. "Tax fraud undermines solidarity within states and among peoples," he said.

Mr Schulz said this should involve more transparency, stricter rules and if necessary heavy penalties on companies involved in bending the rules or outright fraud. It should also mean fighting tax havens globally and above all immediate action. He pointed out that a tax cooperation agreement between the US and Switzerland was adopted in just three months´ time.

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