Today, the UN voted on a resolution on global tax cooperation, with the aim of reducing illicit financial flows between countries and curb tax evasion. Most Western countries voted against the resolution, but Norway chose to abstain.
‘We have a clear ambition for Norway to be a leader in international tax cooperation. This is part of our efforts to fight inequality and implement the Sustainable Development Goals’, says Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.
‘The discussion at the UN shows that there is a growing realisation that the current tax system is not sufficiently capable of tackling illicit financial flows and tax evasion. This affects the ability to finance the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in developing countries. The lost tax revenues does not only affect poor countries, but it also creates challenges for the whole world. Trust in institutions and democracy is at stake. We all have a responsibility to increase our efforts’, says Minister for Development Cooperation Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.
‘In line with the Hurdal Platform, the Government has a clear ambition for Norway to take a leading role in international tax cooperation and in the fight against tax evasion and illicit financial flows’, Tvinnereim adds.
To ensure a good process, Norway would have preferred a thorough evaluation of the proposed framework convention. Norway therefore proposed the establishment of a working group for a comprehensive analysis of what the convention should contain and how it should interact with existing tax structures. Norway is also fully invested in the ongoing processes within OECD and will continue to contribute in the important work happening there. Even though the resolution was adopted without a study, Norway looks forward to engaging constructively in the next phase. We therefore voted abstain, not in favour.
‘By voting to abstain, Norway hopes to play a bridging role between the global South and North, which have expressed disagreement on how international tax co-operation should take place, and whether the UN or the OECD should be in the lead. We believe both processes must mutually reinforce each other’s work. And we want to contribute to building broad support and legitimacy among all UN countries, in a way that complements – and does not duplicate –initiatives that already exist’, says Espen Barth Eide.