Every year the countries of the EU many billions of euros lost. International corporations play off the different tax systems of the countries against each other, wealthy citizens use loopholes. Happened but in the past few years. The reason: The tax policy is one of the areas in which the Council of the EU States in its decisions unanimously. In particular, low-tax countries such as Ireland, Luxembourg or Malta have had it easy for progress to slow down. But Germany took advantage of the Veto-option.

The EU Commission wants to change that now. On Tuesday, it submitted a proposal, according to the tax issues by the year 2025, acting by a qualified majority a decision can be made – if so, 55 percent of EU States, with 65 percent of the EU population. The Problem: The member countries have to agree to this Amendment previously. And while unanimously.

critics call the proposal from the Commission, therefore, as a pure symbol politics. “With this proposal, the majority is buried in principle”, says the Green MEP Sven Giegold. “The EU Commission has released a paper tiger,” blasphemes the Left-Deputy Martin Schirdewan.

member States to veto voluntary

the reason for The Trouble the EU treaties is in the Depths. The proposal of the EU Commission is based on a so-called passerelle clause which allows, in certain policy areas, majority decisions. However, it must be according to article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty not only unanimously decided by the member States. Any on this kind of decision must be submitted afterwards to the national parliaments, which can then insert itself a Veto. The power of such Changes is highly unlikely.

it would be quite a Alternative. She’s hiding out in clause 116 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU and allows member States to decide by majority vote on tax issues. The Commission has to establish only that certain laws – such as tax competition in the EU are distorting the internal market.

Not only critics of the current practice believe that the sometimes egregious differences in the tax rules constitute such a distortion. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker seemed to be in may of 2017, convinced. As the Green politician Giegold asked him in a parliamentary hearing whether he would apply to section 116, in order to solve the blockage in the tax policy, replied Juncker: “Yes”.

question from Greens politician Sven Giegold in the Video (2017):


“Because a political discussion will not be lead to”

This approach was, however, the Commission is now apparently supported by a majority. Financial Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, due to legal problems. For the application of clause 116 of the strict conditions that had to be fulfilled””. While the Commission remains ready, in a single-article cases, 116. But it could not solve the overall problem. “We are pursuing a system approach,” said Moscovici. To convince EU member States of their veto powers voluntarily, is not likely to be easy – this is also Moscovici clear: “Because a political discussion will lead to.”

There is a lot of money. Alone, VAT fraud leads according to the Commission, to Revenue shortfalls of 50 billion euros per year. It would add huge revenue, should be implemented some projects to hang for years in the Council of the member countries. A financial transaction tax could about flush annually to 57 billion euros in the coffers of the States, the controversial digital generate tax in addition to five billion euros. A uniform tax base for corporate taxes would increase investment in the EU by 3.4 per cent and economic growth of 1.2 percent.

But the money is not everything, like Moscovici stressed. In the end it is the trust of citizens in the EU: “We need to show them that the EU is the solution and not the Problem,” said the Frenchman. Whether the Commission’s proposal is good for that, however, appears questionable. “It proposes something,” says Giegold, “you know it never comes.”

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.