Sunday

25th Jun 2017

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.

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.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit