World Economy

EU Needs to Scrap National Vetos on Tax

EU Needs to Scrap National Vetos on TaxEU Needs to Scrap National Vetos on Tax

The European Union should scrap national vetos on tax, EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday.

In his last state of the union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the European Commission president said the EU should move to a system of majority voting, Euronews reported.

Brussels is pushing for more coordination around tax in Europe and an EU-wide digital tax on big tech companies such as Apple and Google, which is opposed by the Irish government on the grounds that it would choke off multinational investment in its country. Nonetheless, Juncker said the current practice of unanimous decision-making had blocked major overhauls of tax legislation in Europe and that “companies should pay taxes where they earn their profits”.

Juncker also said the European Union’s chief executive would propose fining Google, Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms if they fail to remove extremist content within one hour.

Brussels gave internet firms three months in March to show they were acting faster to take down radical posts, but EU regulators say too little is being done without legislation forcing them to do so. If authorities flag it, the European Commission wants content inciting or advocating extremist offences, promoting extremist groups, or showing how to commit such acts to be removed from the web within an hour. “One hour is the decisive time window the greatest damage takes place,” Juncker said.

The president renewed a pledge of close trade and security ties with Britain after Brexit but said the EU would not compromise on key withdrawal terms. 

He said the EU will not allow Britain to participate only in some parts of the bloc’s single market after Brexit without honoring all of the rules. “This is why we want to find solutions that prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland, ” he said, adding the EU will stand in solidarity with Ireland.

In his speech, he also said the EU should flex its potential strength as a world power as the US under President Donald Trump pulls back from international engagement, saying that when united, the EU was a force to be reckoned with.

“Whenever Europe speaks as one, we can impose our position on others,” Juncker said. He said the EU is still wounded by Britain’s imminent withdrawal.


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