Updated | PN MEPs have backed Manfred Weber’s ‘dangerous’ tax proposal and will do the same in the future – Alfred Sant

The Labour MEP says the EPP proposal to remove unanimity voting on tax matters is dangerous and opens the door to the socialists’ plan for a Europe-wide company tax • PN MEPs deny supporting the end of unanimity voting on tax matters

Alfred Sant
Alfred Sant

Updated at 5.45pm with PN MEPs statement

Labour MEPs will continue to vote against the tax positions of both Manfred Weber and Frans Timmermans “come rain and shine”, Alfred Sant said.

The former prime minister was reacting to the debate held yesterday between the lead candidates for the European political parties during which tax matters featured prominently.

The lead candidate for the Socialists and Democrats, Frans Timmermans, reiterated his proposal for the introduction of a Europe-wide minimum 18% tax for corporations. The lead candidate for the European People’s Party, Manfred Weber, proposed removing unanimity voting on tax matters.

Sant said the Maltese Labour Party MEPs have “voted consistently in the European Parliament against the positions of both Weber and Timmermans and will continue to do so come rain and shine”.

Labour MEPs are somewhat of a pariah within the S&D on corporate tax issues since the socialists are major supporters of a Europe-wide corporate tax to cut down on companies that declare income in low tax jurisdiction despite conducting business elsewhere.

Malta’s tax system like that in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, offers tax advantages, in order to attract foreign investment. The EU has no competence on setting the rates of income tax and any move to change this would require unanimity.

Both major political parties in Malta are opposed to any moves towards tax harmonisation or the removal of unanimity voting on European tax matters.

But the issue has become an electoral matter with the Nationalist Party accusing Labour of supporting Timmermans and his tax proposal.

Sant has accused the PN of supporting Weber and his proposal, which does Malta no favours either.

During the debate, Weber stated that he would push for a change to qualified majority voting on corporate tax and other issues.

“This would totally jeopardise Malta's position of full autonomy on tax matters. It would then open the door for proposals like that of Timmermans to push for an 18% minimum corporate tax rate. Weber's position is therefore much more dangerous for Maltese interests than Timmermans' for it will have the backing of the EPP which is likely to be the greatest political family in the EP. The PN has already voted in favour of Weber's position and no doubt will back him again on it in the future,” Sant said.

READ ALSO: EU election debate - Socialists committed to 18% corporate tax rate

PN MEPs say Sant has 'zero credibility'

In a terse reaction to Sant's comments, the three PN MEPs insisted the former prime minister had "zero credibility on tax or anything else".

 

They accused the Labour MEP of "lying" when suggesting that PN MEPs have supported calls to end unanimity on tax matters.

"PN MEPs have consistently voted against any attempt to water down unanimity on taxation matters just as they have always voted against any attempt to promote tax harmonisation. It is only the socialists who have made tax harmonisation in the EU the central theme of their election campaign," the PN MEPs said.

"Alfred Sant would do well to stop trying to fool all the people all the time. Had he actually read the EPP’s manifesto he would have spared himself the embarrassment."

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