sef: Policy Lunch 2015

CC BY-SA 2.0 401(K) 2012/flickr

International tax cooperation
for sustainable development worldwide


In recent years, multinational enterprises (MNEs) have frequently hit the headlines for (legally) exploiting differences in national laws in order to minimise their tax liability. Tax avoidance by multinationals is currently costing the EU Member States an estimated one trillion euros a year. This gap needs to be closed.

The OECD’s BEPS Project (base erosion and profit shifting) is intended to give countries the tools they need to ensure that multinationals’ profits are taxed where the economic activities generating the profits are performed. This shifts the revenue authorities’ focus away from private individuals towards companies. Multinationals with an annual turnover above EUR 750 million would be obliged to report their profits and tax payments to national tax authorities on a country-by-country basis. In October 2014, the G20 countries and major financial centres endorsed a new standard on automatic annual exchange of tax information. At the time of writing (12 February 2015), the 20 leading industrialised countries and emerging economies are making progress towards an international tax regime; for example, at the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Istanbul, they agreed to address key elements of international tax rules by the end of 2015. To support implementation, a multilateral instrument which could be integrated into existing tax treaties will be negotiated by the end of 2016. The use of this tool would avoid the need for lengthy negotiations to update the 3,000 or so bilateral tax treaties worldwide.

In their Communiqué following the Istanbul meeting, the G20 countries invited the developing countries to join the Action Plan. The developing countries have not yet been involved as they lack the bureaucratic and technical infrastructure needed to support data exchange. Developing countries around the world are therefore advocating for a stepwise solution. Options will be discussed at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July 2015.

At their Policy Lunch in Brussels, the Development and Peace Foundation (sef:) and its cooperating partner CIDSE are keen to discuss with experts how the EU can and will position itself at the summit with a view to achieving more tax justice, especially for developing countries. Key questions are whether the OECD should continue to be the main forum for discussion of international tax cooperation, what role the G20 has to play, and whether the United Nations would be a more appropriate framework, based on a newly created intergovernmental tax body.

This latter approach is advocated not only by various non-governmental organisations but also by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Agenda.

Key questions

  1. Where are the major gaps in international tax justice which need to be addressed at the conference in Addis Ababa?
  2. 2015 is a crucial year for international cooperation (keywords: new international climate change agreement, SDG agenda). What are the implications for more effective international tax cooperation?
  3. What measures need to be taken to ensure that developing countries benefit from international tax cooperation to a greater extent in future?

Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to the EU

6 May 2015

Conference language English

Cooperating Partner
CIDSE - International Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies, Brussels

Supported by the
Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and the Media of North Rhine-Westphalia




The Development and Peace Foundation (sef:) and the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) are launching a new publications series: GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS. The new series aims to identify options for international policy action in an ever more complex world. Furthermore, it presents perspectives from different world regions. The series analyses current developments and challenges against the background of long-term political trends, and it illustrates facts with figures and tables. GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS is issued by a team of co-editors from different world regions. For more information, see our press release.

:further info here

Cooperation in a Post-Western World


The Western liberal order finds itself in deep crisis. Global power shifts are accelerating. What does this mean for the future of global cooperation? How can the wish for more national autonomy be reconciled with the need to cooperate in a globalised world? Can new forms of governance contribute to sustaining global cooperation? Michèle Roth and Cornelia Ulbert discuss these questions in the first issue of the new publication series GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS.

:further info here

How to overcome the impasse in UN Security Council reform


The urgently needed UN Security Council reform has been stuck for decades. Without a far-reaching structural change that includes the end of permanent seats and the veto, the Council is fading into irrelevance. But at a time of great power transitions, multipolarity without sufficient multilateralism is a dangerous trend. Therefore, in GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS 02|2018, Jakkie Cilliers calls for a political and intellectual leap to overcome the impasse in UN Security Council reform.

:further info here

Global Food Governance


After the food riots around the world in 2007/2008, the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was reformed. Since then, the CFS has developed into an innovative global policy forum that could be a role model for other Global Governance institutions. In the current evaluation process, however, the CFS also faces a number of challenges. What are the main characteristics of the CFS? How can it prove successful in a changing political environment? Nora McKeon answers these questions in the Global Governance Spotlight 2|2018 and exhorts member governments to value and reinforce this unique policy forum.

:further info here