Tuesday

16th Jul 2019

French MEP suggests EU tax on SMS and emails

Alain Lamassoure, a senior centre-right French MEP, has suggested that the EU levy a tax on SMS and email messages in a debate on the union's future financing.

Mr Lamassoure made his suggestion on Monday (8 May) in a financial working group as part of a joint European Parliament and national parliament conference on the future of Europe in Brussels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He told EUobserver "The economic value of today's globalisation lies in information through transactions in the form of international communication. Why don't we levy taxes on this value, for instance SMS messages?"

"A small tax on an SMS from Paris to another French city could be allocated to the French government, but taxes on emails or SMS messages from Paris to Rome could be dedicated to the EU budget," he said.

"In France an SMS costs 15 cents. We could tax it by 1.5 cents, or less," the MEP added.

For email, the rate could be as little as €0.00001. "This is peanuts, but given the billions of transactions every day, this could still raise an immense income."

The EU has started a re-think of its financing after the bitter talks on the 2007-2013 budget which ended in a hard-fought agreement in December.

Several voices have said the EU should be fed by its own tax instead of member states' donations.

Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schussel said a few weeks after the December budget compromise "Europe needs stronger own resources," adding "if we don't tackle this issue, then reaching agreement on the next financial perspectives [multi-annual budget] will be under threat."

Mr Lamassoure also defended his proposal by arguing that in times of globalisation, it is less and less easy for states to tax income on people, corporations and consumption.

"I suggest this as an idea not only for the EU but also for member states themselves and on the worldwide scale," the MEP added, explaining that revenues from taxes on global information flows could be spent on international development.

He compared his idea to the "Tobin tax" named after the economist James Tobin who in the 1970s proposed a small tax on all cross-border currency trading.

EU hesitates to back France over US tariff threat

France has passed a new tax on tech companies that will affect US global giants like Facebook. Donald Trump has threatened retaliatory tariffs over it. The EU commission says it will "coordinate closely with French" on the next steps.

EU banks more vulnerable to shocks than feared

Eurozone banks, such as Deutsche Bank, might be much more vulnerable to a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis than EU "stress-tests" have said, according to a new audit.

News in Brief

  1. Ansip's ex-cabinet chief to head EU cybersecurity agency
  2. Malta starts trial of journalist murder suspects
  3. Full text of von der Leyen candidacy speech to MEPs
  4. Von der Leyen open to further Brexit delay
  5. Von der Leyen promises carbon border tax
  6. Brexit: both UK PM candidates say Irish backstop is 'dead'
  7. Mogherini: Iran's nuclear enrichment 'reversible'
  8. Report: Selmayr to leave 'next week'

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Son: Malta trial for murdered journalist 'not enough'
  2. Von der Leyen's final appeal to secure top EU post
  3. EU talks tough on Turkey, but arms sales go on
  4. The Abortion Exodus - more Poles and Croats going abroad
  5. Poland's ex-PM loses EU parliament chair again
  6. Von der Leyen reaches out to left and liberal MEPs
  7. Farmers among new MEPs deciding on EU farming money
  8. Von der Leyen's EU vote far from sure

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us