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5 live's Backpackers' Guide to the Eurozone: Taxes and a lost backpack

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Chris Mason Chris Mason | 10:27 UK time, Thursday, 13 October 2011

It is time to give that old line about death and taxes being the only certainties in life a modern twist.

What about adding lost luggage to the list? There are few more uplifting experiences at any airport than standing in the 'baggage tracing' queue. We'd arrived in Frankfurt, my backpack hadn't.

Armed with my complementary toothbrush and deoderant, it was time to head into the city, which brings us to taxes.

We're in Frankfurt because it's the Eurozone's financial capital. Skyscrapers everywhere, the European Central Bank down the road. The ECB has a pivotal role in holding the Eurozone together.

Taxes, it goes without saying, have a pivotal role too in holding a country's balance sheet together, and therefore what the markets make of it as a place to invest. In Greece it was immediately obvious tax evasion was rife. Not something to provoke moral anguish or guilt, but widespread, mainstream and endemic. In Italy, we were told to forget football. Dodging tax is the real national sport.

As and when Greece and Italy rattle their tins for bailout money, how much tolerance will Europe's governments, banks and taxpayers have for this kind of engrained illegality?

Chris Mason is 5live's Political Reporter. He is spending the week exploring the state of the Eurozone, visiting Greece, Italy, Germany and Belgium.

You can follow his progress on 5live, here on the 5live blog, on Twitter and on the BBC News website.


  • Comment number 1.

    They left my luggage at Frankfurt airport once. Got back to Blighty with only the clothes I stood up in.. They did return my case to me 48 hours later though. Hope your turns up.


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