Tax harmonisation: An early silly season

No Maltese MEP would vote for an EU-wide tax harmonisation in order to follow the group he or she belongs to. Maltese MEPs of whatever party have enough sense to know which side Malta’s bread is buttered

Joseph Muscat with the lead candidate for the Socialists and Democrats Frans Timmermans
Joseph Muscat with the lead candidate for the Socialists and Democrats Frans Timmermans

The silly season is earlier than usual this year – provoked as it is by the impending election for the European Parliament next Saturday. Since the PN is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), while the PL is a member of the Socialist and Democrats (S&D), we have invented a game in which the two local parties are accused of being in favour of whatever their grouping in the European Parliament is proposing.

So, the Labour media translates EPP’s stance in favour of tax harmonisation – that is a no-no as far as Malta is concerned – into the PN threatening 35,000 jobs. I actually wonder how this number was concocted but this is irrelevant.

According to a report in the GWU daily l-orizzont last Thursday, the paper has estimates worked out by experts that show that this number of jobs will be lost in Malta if the tax harmonisation proposal becomes reality. These jobs are in the gaming, financial services and rental sectors.

In actual fact the EPP manifesto says this on taxation: “We will ensure fair taxes for everyone. We believe everyone must contribute their fair share to the Europe we all benefit from. Big corporations should not get tax breaks or be allowed to take advantage of loopholes not available to everyone. Corruption must be found and removed, both in Europe and around the world, to protect the fairness and transparency of our own European tax systems. We will fight for fair tax distribution in the Digital Age.”  

The PN insists that it is the S&D candidate for President of the European Commission, the Dutch Frans Timmermans, who is in favour of tax harmonisation that would mean Malta’s losing its sovreignty on taxation.

The S&D manifesto insists that tax should be paid in the same country where the profit is generated.

At the end of the day, the difference between the two groups is minimal and I see nothing wrong in principle... a case of ‘yes but not in Malta’ for very obvious reasons.

The PN claims that the S&D manifesto is in favour of abortion. While not mentioning ‘abortion’ by name, the S&D manifesto speaks of assuring the right of every person to have full access to sexual and reproductive rights and that all persons have the right to take decisions about their body. This is abortion by another name, of course.

While not refuting this, the Labour media insists that any decision on abortion in Malta will only be taken in Malta, thanks to a particular protocol with the EU signed by the PN as part of its negotiations for entry into the EU.

But the PN insists that a vote for a member of the S&D group – i.e. PL candidates – is a vote in favour of abortion.

As far as I am concerned, I am sure that no Maltese MEP would vote for an EU-wide tax harmonisation in order to follow the group he or she belongs to. Maltese MEPs of whatever party have enough sense to know which side Malta’s bread is buttered.

The same goes on for abortion. No Maltese MEP would vote for it just because the group he or she belongs to says so.

In the European Parliament, one hardly finds strict voting along party lines... but perhaps the Maltese electorate is not fully aware of this, which makes Maltese voters more vulnerable to believe wild allegations such as those being bandied about in the current electoral campaign.

Surprisingly nobody speaks about other aspects of the EPP and S&D manifestos.

The EPP manifesto comes strong on the protection of Europe’s borders against illegal immigration and the fight against terrorism and organised crime

It is all for the defence of the European social model in a globalised world and the preservation of European cultural richness and diversity, the safeguarding of democracy and European values as well as the importance of families.

The S&D manifesto is very strong wherever workers’ rights are concerned, while on immigration it proposes ‘legal amd safe’ methods so as to combat human trafficking.

There have been other foibles on the local front. The PN’s emphasis on a search for cancer cures – which is inspired by the EPP having committed to do everything in its power to ensure that nobody in the EU dies from cancer in 20 years’ time – has even shocked some Labour supporters because according to them cancer should not be politicised. Of course, they forget that cancer was politicised by Joseph Muscat in the run-up to the 2013 election when he described the Marsa power station as a ‘cancer factory’ and even read letters from an afflicted family member in a political rally.

The EPP position paper on cancer is anything but a political ploy attempting to take political advantage of sick people. But then who has bothered to read this document?

Or the manifestos for that matter!

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