The five large EU countries are pressing for the approval of the minimum 15% corporate tax | Economy

The five largest economies in the European Union have lost patience with Hungary and its veto to implement a minimum rate of 15% in corporate tax. Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands have presented this Friday a joint declaration in which companies assume “their fair share of the burden to alleviate the impact of the global energy crisis.” If unanimity is not reached [en la UE] In the coming weeks, we are willing to implement the global minimum effective taxation in 2023 and by any possible legal means”, they warn in a text signed by the respective Ministers of Economy and Finance.

The first recipient of the message is clearly Hungary, the country that blocked the transposition of the agreement in the European Union in June that reached almost 140 countries, coordinated by the OECD. During the first half of this year, in which the presidency of the Council of the EU corresponded to France, its Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire, tried to obtain the approval of the regulation proposed by the Commission. But first Poland and, finally, Hungary made its approval impossible, since being a fiscal issue requires the unanimity of the Twenty-seven.

Now these five states launch this kind of ultimatum at the first meeting of EU finance ministers, the so-called Ecofin, the body that has to approve the proposal. That measure was not on the agenda of this meeting, or at least nothing very concrete, so this movement can also be read as a reminder to the Czech Republic, the country that has taken the baton from France, that the commitment made with the OECD and that hundred or so countries around the world have to be approved as soon as possible. Although it does not seem that Prague will run more than expected due to this movement: “I do not think that October [fecha del siguiente Ecofin] be a term, I think the term is the presidency”, declared the Czech Finance Minister, Zbynek Stanjura. “We want to reach an agreement, we will have patience”, he added.

In theory, the Ecofin meeting next month is the first meeting in which the creation of this land could be approved because that meeting will already be formal and, therefore, it will have the capacity to adopt formal decisions. Not in this one you come to Prague, since it is informal. However, sources close to the countries from which the proposal starts have indicated that there is no reason to “limit oneself to formalities”. “This statement is a strong signal,” they added.

The intention of the five countries that take this step, if “in the coming weeks” this common point of all the member states is not reached, is to even reach what is called enhanced cooperation. When an initiative runs aground in the EU Council as it does not require the required support, in this case unanimity, this tool can be used, which requires the support of at least nine Member States. Therefore, the five big ones would need to add another four if Budapest finally maintained its veto. “Unanimity is the best option; the second, reinforced cooperation”, they add in one of these countries.

The objective of this quintet is that the new appraisal will arrive in time to be implemented in 2023 to avoid “tax competition downwards”, as the Spanish First Vice President and Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, recalled in the presentation of the joint statement, in an act in which the five Ministers of Finance spoke without accepting questions. The Spanish vice president has remarked: “We have to incorporate into the European legal system the commitments assumed in the framework of the G20 and the OECD so that there is a minimum corporate tax in Europe and so that we can move towards a fairer tax system”. Calviño added: “At this time when European citizens are facing important challenges, we need to ensure that there is no downward tax competition and that our tax systems are fair and that large companies also contribute to the cost of war” .

Le Maire, whose work has been recognized by his colleagues during the preceding months, has warned that the initiative seeks to have the measure approved “as quickly as possible.” As he has also repeated in the debates held within Ecofin, the Frenchman has highlighted that it is about fighting tax avoidance practiced by many multinational companies.

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