Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Strains across Europe.


Sometimes I think of Europe as a cat's cradle of elastic bands, with each country (indeed each person) at the junctions of the bands.  The elastic bands are tensioned with political, social and financial forces.  The political forces of each nation are largely contrived and energised by people in power, which includes the higher echelon of 'civil servants'.  Change is not in their interest. Power feeds their spirits; their forces repulse the others.  The social forces of Europe, that is to say the people who oddly enough elect the politicians, nevertheless attract each other whilst the financial forces can twang the other forces and may well arise from powers beyond Europe.  
The unfortunate Briton in Europe has little, and most usually no, political power.  He is forbidden to vote after 15 years outside of his native land.  Socially, he binds with his community of residence but  yet retains strong bonds with his fellow countrymen and family at 'home'. Financially his income (if he is retired) comes from his native land and he may well be taxed there as well as in his land of residence. He may spend his money in several countries.  When he dies, his inheritance is likely to be in confusion.
It would seem that in the nascent power house of Europe someone thinks on these things. 
Eventually some cross-nation sense will need to arise, otherwise the three forces will cause such strains that the whole cat's cradle collapses.  
The nations must have taxes but across Europe taxation is an unholy mess.  This has also contributed to tensioning this cat's cradle of nations.  The social forces pull against the political  forces, and the external financial forces, as has recently been demonstrated is twanging the elastic bands of the PIGS  [Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain] nations and also Britain.
The linked document published on 20 December 2010 on Cross Border Taxation (click here to view)  by the EU outlines the mess.
This blog has elsewhere demonstrated the unfairness  of the Double Taxation Treaty between France and the UK.  The document surveys this as well as many other points.