Friday

26th May 2017

Brussels feels time is right to suggest EU tax

  • Mr Lewandowski: the current EU budget runs from 2007 to 2013 (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

As the economic downturn sees many member states seek ways of cutting back on public spending, the European Commission believes the time is right to put the thorny idea of the EU raising its own taxes back on the table.

EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski told German daily Financial Times Deutschland that the feelings on the idea of an EU tax had changed in national capitals.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Many countries want to be unburdened. In this way, the door has been opened to think about revenues that are not claimed by finance ministers," he said.

If the EU raised its own taxes, then member states could pay less to the EU from their national budgets is the thinking in Brussels. Member states currently pay towards the EU budget based on gross national income, as well as VAT and customs duties.

However, these sources only make up about 12 percent of EU revenue. "The national credit transfers in 1988 were only 11 percent, now they account for 76 percent of our revenue," said Mr Lewandowski. "That was not the intention of the founding fathers."

"If the EU had more of its own revenues, then transfers from national budgets could be reduced. I hear from several capitals, including important ones like Berlin, that they would like to reduce their contribution," he added.

He indicated that possible tax sources for Brussels could include an aviation tax and a financial transaction tax. Mr Lewandowski also has his eye on the money raised from the auctioning of CO2 emissions rights, something due to start in 2013.

He is to unveil his ideas in September. But although the commissioner senses a change in attitude among some member states, his plans are set to be highly controversial.

Several member states oppose the idea of an EU tax in principle, believing it to resemble too much a state-like power

However, commission officials are said to be counting on a feeling among EU citizens that banks and other financial institutions should pay for sparking off the global financial crisis, meaning that a financial transaction tax with the proceeds going to the EU might be less unpopular than in the past.

There is hope that an ambitious Danish EU presidency in the first half of 2012 could seal a deal, a senior official recently told EUobserver.

The EU has a seven-year budget. The current cycle runs from 2007 to 2013. Negotiations on the budget are traditionally full of ill-humour and sniping between member states.

This next round is set to be worse than usual, with governments already feeling the pinch and other highly controversial issues, such as reform of the budget-gobbling farm policy, also up for discussion.

Portugal held up as symbol of EU recovery

Portugal to sail out of troubled waters after eight years of financial crisis, EU commission predicted, amid broad but "fragile" recovery in European economy.

Trade deal ratification needs member states, EU court says

The EU Court of Justice has ruled that the Singapore trade deal needs member states' ratification in its current form. It said that only investments do not belong under the EU's sole competence, potentially removing Brexit complications.

News in Brief

  1. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  2. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  3. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  4. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  5. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  6. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  7. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  8. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms