European countries exclude companies registered in offshore tax havens from coronavirus stimulus

Three European countries have moved to restrict companies that keep large sums of money overseas in tax havens from accessing stimulus funds.

France's finance minister said on a radio show that his goal was to prevent such companies from being eligible to receive any government stimulus. "It goes without saying that if a company has its tax headquarters or subsidiaries in a tax haven, I want to say with great force, it will not be able to benefit from state financial aid," said Bruno Le Maire.

His announcement follows similar declarations from officials in Denmark and Poland. Denmark's government ended support for companies with overseas fortunes in an order issued days ago by the country's finance ministry extending a government bailout program into July.

Poland's prime minister reportedly went a step further earlier this month, calling for an end to all tax havens, according to the news outlet: "end tax havens, which are the bane of modern economies."

Prominent media figures in the U.K. and Italy have also blasted companies for not paying taxes, pointing to underfunded public services amid the coronavirus outbreak: "It has become evident that those who do not pay their taxes are not only guilty of a crime, but of murder: if the beds and the respirators are not there they are partly to blame," wrote one Italian broadcaster.

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