Time to taxPosted: August 10, 2010
It seems it’s time to think about a EU-wide tax… Or is it ?
Let’s get back to the beginning :
On August 9th, Commissioner J. Lewandoski, in charge of the budget, announced he will present a plan in September for a direct EU tax. This move would reduce the transfer from member states budget to the Union. [*,*] The tax would be on Aviation, Financial Transactions and Carbon Emission Trading.
The EU budget for 2010 amount for just under 123 billion Euros, three quarters of it coming from member states contributions. Of this budget, about 40% goes to agriculture and about the same to structural funds.
Germany is the most important contributor, the UK is also an important contributor and the British opinion is generally in disfavor of this contribution. In France, this contribution to the EU budget is virtually never mentioned. I cannot tell how big this is a deal in other member states, but as far as I know, this is mostly a no-subject.
However, at a moment when austerity – re branded smart spending in France – is one of the favorite policy among EU countries, being able to reduce the EU budget line is a big psychological plus; the sort of thing some government would be delighted to announce. Of course, this wouldn’t really reduce the contribution from a country, it would just be paid directly and not via the government.
Let’s now discuss the possible advantages of a possible EU tax.
- Firstly, this tax is not a direct tax on citizen. It is not a for-EU-only part of the V.A.T, it is not a income tax on EU citizen. In his blog, Jon Worth argues that a EU tax could get citizen more involved in European Politics; that is technically true and I would absolutely agree, however this might not be a tax direct enough to influence citizen – It actually would probably influence big companies like banks or air travel companies to get more involved in EU politics, which would reinforce the idea that Europe is on the side of Big Corporations.
- France and Germany did already spoke about applying a tax on financial transactions, but so far it was all about getting it the money in the government cash box. At least, with a EU tax, everybody will have the same tax and Brussels will get some benefit from that.
- Such a tax is a big step toward more Europe and a greater Union. But this is just the beginning. I would really appreciate taking this step, but that might not be enough. If one day I can choose between filling a French tax form or a European one, that would be so much great – but there are some progress to make in a lot of domains between we can get there.
To conclude: this proposal has not brought about a lot of enthusiasm but at least, we can say that now: the elephant is in the room.
(Read all the developments on this topic on BloggingPortal.eu)