Tax transparency yes, harmonisation no, insists Labour MEP Alfred Sant

Labour MEP Alfred Sant said the Bulgarian EU presidency could raise further awareness on the state of peripheral countries where tax flexibility was ‘necessary’

Labour MEP Alfred Sant
Labour MEP Alfred Sant

The EU should maintain a strong emphasis on tax transparency but at the same time ensure member states retain the right to determine their own taxes, Alfred Sant said.

The Labour MEP said tax flexibility was “necessary” for countries at the margin of Europe, when he was speaking in the European Parliament debate on the work programme of the Bulgarian presidency.

Sant recalled how the European Parliament had recently questioned the unanimity principle on taxation decisions among EU member states.

Malta is resisting moves for tax harmonisation requested by some of the EU’s bigger countries. As things stand, any decision on taxation would require unanimity in the Council, however, the European Commission late last year floated the possibility of triggering a never-used clause in the treaty to push tax changes through qualified majority voting.

Sant told the European Parliament that by prioritising the deepening of regional relations, starting with the Balkans, the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU could further raise awareness about the state of peripheral countries.

“The full inclusion in policymaking of peripheral countries is key to ensuring economic and social cohesion in Europe,” Sant said.

Bulgaria took over the EU presidency on 1 January.

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