Monday

23rd Apr 2018

Slovak minister attacks EU constitution over tax

Institutional changes contained in the EU constitution could increase pressure for EU tax harmonisation, harming all of Europe, Slovak finance minister Ivan Miklos has indicated.

Slovakia is one of 14 countries that have ratified the EU charter, with the centre-right government led by Mikulas Dzurinda supporting it throughout the ratification process.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But Mr Miklos said on Thursday (3 March) he had changed his mind on the constitution, mainly due to the pressure that the constitution could create towards European tax harmonisation.

"I think that should the institutional changes increase the risk of taking such steps [as tax harmonisation], we need to seriously consider whether it is good for Slovakia as well as for all Europe to carry out those changes," said Mr Miklos, according to TASR, the Slovak press agency.

From this point of view, he added, the adoption of the EU constitution is "not in the interest of Slovakia's further positive economic development or of the EU's competitiveness as such."

Mr Miklos spelled out his ideas at a pre-election campaign debate on Slovakia's future foreign policy, as the country prepares for an early parliamentary election on 17 June.

Sacred cows in Europe?

Slovakia has been one of the strongest opponents of EU tax harmonisation, along with the UK, Ireland and Estonia.

The countries have also expressed concerns over a plan by EU tax commissioner Laszlo Kovacs to propose a common company tax base.

Mr Kovacs told the Financial Times he intends to continue with work on the proposal, aiming to put it forward by 2008.

He said the law would be binding only for countries willing to join in, as part of a so called "enhanced cooperation" agreement while commenting "tax sovereignty is treated in some member states as a kind of sacred cow."

"I know there are four or five countries that are resolutely against [a harmonised corporate tax base]. There is no practical reason for this, or at least I have never heard any concrete arguments for their opposition."

"With all my due respect to tax sovereignty, I believe that competitiveness is at least as important as tax sovereignty, if not more," said Mr Kovacs.

The commissioner argues his plan would save "billions of euros" and reduce the administrative burden faced by companies today.

The commission's plan would also include a proposal to create an EU tax, and Mr Kovacs suggested that such a levy would best be linked to the value added tax raised in the bloc's member states.

"It would offer a better solution for the financing of the EU to have an EU tax because the focus would no longer be on the contribution of the member states but on what kind of EU policies should be financed," he said.

Investigation

MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes

MEPs are using so-called 'friendship groups' to cater to foreign governments without oversight and little public scrutiny. Initially set up to promote cultural exchanges, some have become lobbying platforms to push state views from governments with poor human rights records.

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.

Investigation

EU passes new rules to prevent far-right funding abuses

Political funding of European parties is being overhauled ahead of the European parliament elections next year. The latest rules will cut funding for smaller parties, with an aim to squeeze out duplication and over-representation of the far right.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists