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G8 summit

Pulling together to clamp down on tax evasion

At the summit in Northern Ireland the G8 leaders have agreed to share data and information in an effort to clamp down on tax evasion. Negotiations were also launched on a free trade agreement between the European Union and the USA.

The heads of state and government on the way to pose for the traditional family photo Chancellor Angela Merkel between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (at left) and US-President Barack Obama (at right) Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

And an agreement was reached on Syria, where there is to be a transitional government.

The heads of state and government of the G8 states discussed many issues in the British golf resort on Lough Erne: the situation in Syria, the global economy, transparency in the extractive sector, tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering.

Pooling forces to clamp down on tax evasion

"The communiqué of the G8 states will make it quite clear that there is to be extensive data and information sharing on the basis of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in an effort to tackle tax evasion," reported Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Secondly, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will be presenting a report on tax avoidance at the end of June, with a special focus on multilateral businesses. The G8 states will be incorporating this in the deliberations of the G20, she continued. It will become much more difficult to avoid taxes. "That is a major step forward". A G8 action plan on money laundering has also been drawn up, with German support.

Transitional government in Syria

The heads of state and government agreed on a joint statement on the civil war in Syria. That is a "very good message" said the Chancellor. The G8 states agreed to raise humanitarian aid by more than one billion dollars. Germany will be contributing 200 million euros, stated Angela Merkel. "That is the largest sum we have ever provided for any humanitarian action."

The leaders also agreed to hold a second Geneva conference as swiftly as possible to discuss a transitional government. The transitional government should have full executive powers, said the Chancellor. "The fact that all participants are willing to work for this conference is an important step forward."

The G8 leaders resolved to have the possible use of chemical weapons investigated by the United Nations. The United Nations Security Council should then report on the investigations.

Generating growth together

At the start of the two-day summit, participants deliberated on the global economy and the situation in the world. "It became clear that there is a lot of common ground in terms of pooling forces for fiscal consolidation and options for growth," said Angela Merkel. The European Union reported that the "very obvious crisis of confidence" has been mastered. "We still have a great deal of work ahead of us though," said the Chancellor.

Investing in research and innovations

Growth needs sound finances and structural reform, continued Angela Merkel. Unemployment, especially youth unemployment can only be overcome if we invest more in research and innovation. This is another area in which structural reforms are needed. Above all though, the "flexibility of labour markets and overall structures in Europe must be improved," said the Chancellor. "There was general agreement on this point."

The launch of free trade negotiations

Before the first session, the European participants and President Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for negotiations on a free trade agreement between the EU and the USA. Negotiations can now begin.

"This free trade agreement would mark a great leap forward. It would foster growth across the board and create new jobs," explained Angela Merkel. "That is why we have decided to begin negotiations soon and to proceed enthusiastically so that an agreement can be put in place in the foreseeable future."

Greater transparency in the extractive sector

The heads of state and government also considered how to enhance transparency in trade in raw materials. "Germany will be joining the initiative," declared Angela Merkel. "We will support a pilot project conducted by the state of Saxony with Mongolia as Germany’s partner country." Germany and Mongolia already have an agreement on the extractive sector.

"I believe that the results are important in terms of trade, the global economy and tax issues, but also in terms of the urgent problem of Syria," the Chancellor summed up.

Visitors from Africa

On the second day of the summit, international visitors, in particular African visitors, were present. They were invited to the traditional outreach lunch. At the close of the summit a joint statement was published as usual.

This year’s G8 summit was held on 17 and 18 June in Northern Ireland. The British Prime Minister David Cameron and representatives of the Northern Irish government welcomed Chancellor Angela Merkel and the other participants to Lough Erne.

The summit was attended by US President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Herman van Rompuy (President of the European Council) and José Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission).

Jun 18, 2013