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A number of trade unions have recently denounced McDonalds’ fiscal optimisation policies. According to the unions’ experts, between 2009 and 2013 McDonalds paid only 16 million euros in profit taxes across the EU states in which it operates instead of the 1.06 billion euros it should have paid if tax avoidance schemes had not been in operation.

Needless to say, although some EU governments and the OECD are claiming that they will soon put a stop to tax evasion practices employed by American multinationals in Europe, the situation does not look set to improve any time soon. Consequently, national EU budgets are still going to be starved for much-needed income and governments will be forced to borrow – sometimes at prohibitive rates – in order to make up for the shortfall.

For the past 30 years this is the type of economic model the US has pioneered around the world, with dire consequences for the political systems and social stability of allied European countries. In hindsight, this kind of “leadership” may prove to do more lasting damage to EU economies than the situation in Ukraine or the current slowdown in growth. To date, however, no American politician or party has tried to deal with this issue in any meaningful way.

 

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