Monday, May 19, 2014

European travels

After five days in Luxembourg, I have just this evening arrived in Milan.

In Luxembourg, as planned and previously noted I taught two classes (one on income taxation / consumption taxation, one on tax expenditures and allocative / distributional government policy through the tax system and otherwise).  Plus I gave a public talk on recent EU discussion of capital levies, and participated in a panel discussion of my international tax book.  People appear to agree that the book has some original ideas, whether or not they subscribe to them 100 percent.  (As it's written from more or less a big-country perspective, even if not exclusively that of the U.S., no surprise to encounter some disagreement in a country like Luxembourg that occupies quite a different niche in the international tax community.)

I may find a vehicle for publishing my capital levies talk, which I had initially thought I would simply post here.  More on that soon.

Here in Milan, also as previously noted I will be attending a conference on the OECD's BEPS project (addressing base erosion and profit-shifting).  I was able to use a stint in the airport to prepare slides that I will indeed post here.

Luxembourg City is quite nice, an old European city that happens to be situated amid picturesque mountains and valleys.  More French than German, contrary to what I had expected.  Like Jerusalem, its location evidently reflects the site's defensive potential as a fortress, rather than, say, exceptional access to rivers and harbors.

Keeping in mind what all work and no play did to poor Jack Torrance, I also managed to fit in a couple of weekend day trips, seeing the beautiful nearby German city of Trier on the first day, and then hiking in the woods from Beaufort to Echternach in the Mullerthal region of eastern Luxembourg on the second day.

Here in Milan, the excitement of managing my transport from Malpensa Airport to my hotel was certainly increased a bit by the fact that there is a taxi strike here today.  That could potentially be quite an obstacle for the unprepared arriving traveler.  But I had already planned on taking a train from the airport to a transit hub in town, and was then able to negotiate subway + tram + just a block on foot in order to find my hotel.

I've used Malpensa before but never seen the city, which at first glance looks huge but pleasant.

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