Legal Discrimination: How Double Taxation Treaties Discriminate against Lower-Income Countries

HannahMultinational treaty shopping and tax avoidance is commonplace throughout the world, particularly in poorer countries. The secretary-general of the OECD, Angel Gurría, believes that developing nations lose three times more money to tax havens then they receive in aid each year (The Economist, 2015). This treaty shopping is made possible by lax tax laws which often unfairly discriminate against poorer, less developed nations. @ucdpolitics student, Hannah Twomey, argues in this blog post that it is not just tax havens that cost developing countries tax revenues. Double Taxation Agreements are legal agreements which often discriminate against lower income countries and deny them access to vital tax revenue which could be used for the development of the particular country.

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The Financial Transaction Tax: Has the Market Finally Met It’s Foe?

Billy VFollowing the Great Recession, many solutions have been put forward to “rein the markets in”, and try to plug the inequality that has been on the rise since. These have included rent controls, increased banking regulation, and efforts to harmonise corporate taxation and discourage international tax havens. Most are in agreement that the long term aim is “to create a financial system and an economy that works for all of our people, not just a handful of billionaires”. (Sanders, 2016) In this blog post, @ucdpolitics student, Billy Vaughan, argues that it is one thing to come up with convincing rhetoric, quite another to devise a detailed mechanism to tackle inequality, and in particular to shift the burden from capital to labour. Once such idea, however, is to introduce a Financial Transactions Tax, or FTT.

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#Ash-shab’yuridisqatannizam: How 140 characters shaped the world.

Hazel NOver the last decade, the power of social media as an independent media outlet has grown exponentially. Its ability to provide free and non censored information to the masses has allowed it to become a critical tool for political demonstration. @UCD_Politics student, Hazel Nolan, argues that social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook enabled and furthered the Arab Spring of 2010, as these domestic media outlets were censored by the various Middle Eastern governments. Freedom of speech as expressed through social media, she argues, gave way to the most rapid search of democratisation in a post-colonialism world.

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Ordoliberalism was the main inspiration behind EU competition law.

DanielEU-US relations have been marked by a significant volume of trade and close diplomatic ties for most of post-WWII history. Together the EU and US currently account for half of world GDP and a third of global trade (EU Commission Trade Department). The first transatlantic regulatory cooperation agreement was signed 1991 in the area of competition (Pollack, 2003, p.33). Nonetheless, despite strong efforts to achieve convergence, legal enforcement in this field is still marked by stark ideational differences on either side of the Atlantic. In this blog post Daniel Andersen argues that the US and the EU have completely opposing views on corporate monopolies, which manifests itself in the politics of anti-trust legislation, and can be traced to the economic philosophy of ordoliberalism. 

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The role of language in shaping German economic philosophy

Version 2Against the background of the Eurozone crisis, Germany’s economic thinking has been subject to intense public debate in the english speaking world, and historical experiences and cultural differences have sometimes been adduced to explain Germany’s preoccupation with balanced budgeting and independent central banking. In this post Caroline Bhattacharya argues that German economic policy is deeply intertwined with the German language.

All member-states of the  Eurozone got a flavour of the peculiarities of German economic thinking in recent years, with the German government romanticising the ideals of the ‘German export model’. In light of Germany’s crisis management, and it’s commitment to economic nationalism, there has been a renewed discussion – predominantly among Anglo-American commentators – whether there is a distinctive school of German and Austrian economic thinking, commonly referred to as ordoliberalism.

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With No Direction Home?

Labour mobility imbalances between European Core and Periphery: evidence from Italy and Portugal

fotoprofiloIn this post Vincenzo Maccarrone argues that much of the debate on the European economic crisis has concentrated on the presence of structural imbalances between Northern and Southern European countries[1]. When discussing this inequality most commentators focus on the differences in current accounts or in financial flows. However, little focus has been given to another aspect of the Euro crisis: the development of South-North migration flows. He asks whether this element of inter-European disparity something we should be worried about?

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The EU Global Strategy: The perils of pragmatism

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The following blog post is part of an ongoing conversation on on the EU Global Strategy published on the Global Justice Blog of the GLOBUS H2020-funded research programme Reconsidering European Contributions to Global Justice.


The delivery of the EU Global Strategy does indeed renew the EU’s commitment to adapt to today’s challenging times. It is also notable that the strategy was delivered in the hours following the momentous Brexit referendum result, almost as a direct riposte to those expecting/hoping for a collapse of European ambition and a weakening in the broader European project. At the same time, the follow up to the strategy may be revealing something of disconnect or contradiction between the two elements of ‘smart power’ identified by Mai’a K. Davis Cross.

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The Political Economy of Brexit: London Will Adapt.

AidanEveryone is trying to second guess the negotiating strategy of Theresa May, and how the EU will respond. No country should be more concerned about this than Ireland, the only EU country to share a border with the UK. Next week, the Irish government will host an all Ireland civic dialogue.  Political economy considerations have never been more important.

In hindsight Brexit might be conceived as a long-term inevitability, which can be traced back to the structural fault-lines of EU enlargement, and the free movement of peoples into Europe’s largest ‘open’ labour market. Helen Thompson, a professor at Cambridge has suggested as such:

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Themes in the study of Ireland and European Union membership

The following is the introductory summary of a forthcoming article in the EU Politics and Comparative Regional Integration series for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics on “Ireland and the European Union”. This series is designed to be a dynamic, on-line source for researchers, teachers, and students throughout the world. Articles are expected to provide insight, not just information, and are intended to be authoritative and scholarly, and peer-reviewed. Because the OREP is “born digital,” it is a dynamic and constantly evolving research tool that over time will provide global coverage of the study of politics. The goal is to become an international hub for the discipline, covering the many areas of study that make up the field of politics. Comments on this outline are warmly welcomed.

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A smart or a bold move: how Merkel dealt with the refugee crisis

Ying Zang, MPP

Ying Zang is a Master of Public Policy student in UCD. This blog was written for POL40160 Comparative Public Policy. The best blogs from this module were selected to enable talented graduate students in UCD to contribute to ongoing debates about contemporary policy issues affecting European societies. 

Ever since the Syrian refugee crisis erupted in the summer of 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door stance on refugees has been controversial, not only internationally but also domestically. At first, Germans gathered at train stations to welcome refugees arriving in their cities as if they were long-lost friends. Refugees were greeted with rounds of applause and songs, as well as sweets, pastries, and toys, on station platforms across the country. Germany stopped enforcing the EU’s ‘Dublin’ rules, under which asylum seekers should register in the first member state they arrive in: Merkel made her dramatic declaration that any Syrian who reaches the country could claim asylum in Germany. Merkel also appealed for a common action of EU member states to cope with the crisis. She has said that EU states ‘must share the responsibility for refugees seeking asylum…. If Europe fails on the question of refugees, this close connection with universal civil rights … it won’t be the Europe we want.’ She pressed for quotas to spread asylum-seekers out among more countries in the 28-nation grouping.

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