When Pier Carlo Padoan joined the government of new Italian
prime minister Matteo Renzi in February, he returned to a
situation he knew well. Before almost seven years at the OECD
in Paris, first as deputy secretary general, later adding the
role of chief economist, he had been economic adviser to two of
Renzi's predecessors, Massimo d'Alema and Guiliano Amato,
between 1998 and 2001.
Padoan is a new entry this year
As director of one of the eurozone's three biggest
economies, Padoan has quickly assumed an influential role in
the EU, particularly while Italy has had the presidency of the
European Council during the second half of the year. The
December 9 meeting of EU finance ministers agreed on inserting
an anti-abuse clause in the Parent-Subsidiary Directive and on
the Directive on Administrative Cooperation, which incorporates
the Common Reporting Standard, the global standard for the
automatic exchange of tax information, though there was no
progress on a financial transaction tax.
Another significant intervention came earlier in December,
when he, Wolfgang Schauble, Germany's finance minister, and
Michel Sapin, his French counterpart, wrote to Pierre
Moscovici, the new EU tax commissioner and another member,
along with Schauble, of the Global Tax 50, urging him to
produce plans for an anti-BEPS directive, to be agreed by the
end of 2015. The ministers said the new rules should cover
mandatory and automatic exchange of information on cross-border
tax rulings, including transfer pricing; a register identifying
beneficiaries of trusts, shell companies and other
non-transparent entities; and measures against tax havens.
Padoan also found the time in March to launch an extensive
reform of the Italian tax system. His goal is to produce
changes that will clamp down on evasion as well as introduce
more certainty, stability and simplicity into the rulebook.
The finance minister has had a lengthy career as a public
servant. From 2001 to 2005, he was the Italian executive
director at the IMF and has also been a consultant to the World
Bank, European Commission and European Central Bank. This has
been quite apart from a distinguished career as an economics
professor. He is bringing all this experience to bear as he
strives to create a better tax system at home and abroad.