18th Apr 2021

Commission prepares position on European tax

During their weekly meeting on Wednesday, the 20 Commissioners discussed the emotive issue of European taxes or "genuine own resources" as the umbrella term goes.

The Commissioners were preparing their position for the Convention on the Future of Europe - which has yet to complete its debate on the financing of the Union.

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In a "lively" debate Commissioners exchanged views on to what extent the Union should continue just being "an organisation depending on national contributions or achieve financial autonomy," said a Commission official.

The Commission wants to "reinforce" its channels for money.

At the moment, the EU gets some income through customs levies, levies on agriculture and sugar, and VAT. Added to these are the national contributions (percentages of GNP) from the fifteen EU member states.

For the moment there is no direct income tax of the European citizen, but the issue was discussed on Wednesday, said an official.

Taking the bull by the horns

It will also come up in a small discussion circle set up by the Convention. Chaired by Henning Christophersen, Danish member of the Convention's steering committtee, the circle will look at how the Union could get more money for itself.

The Commission's Secretary General, David O' Sullivan, will take part in the group - which is likely to be the scene of heated debate.

The UK, for example, remains adamantly opposed to any move to direct taxation of European citizens and any moves to water down the current veto rights to qualified majority voting - something which the commission supports.

For its part, the Commission is well aware of how hard the idea will be to sell.

Chief commission spokesman Reijo Kemppinen spoke of deliberations among the Commissioners about "whether to take the bull by the horns" and call it a European tax.

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