Belgium backs EU-wide tax: minister

10th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Belgium's budget minister spoke in favour on Tuesday of a Europe-wide tax that could directly target citizens, after Britain, France and Germany all opposed the EU plans.

European Union budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski on Monday said he was considering options to raise revenue, such as a direct levy on national taxpayers and a tax on air transport.

Detailed plans will be presented next month but Belgium's Melchior Wathelet said he had "always been a great defender of the principle of (the EU having its) own resources," as opposed to being three-quarters funded by member state contributions.

The current model, which also involves rebates for Britain, Denmark and Germany for instance, is "unhealthy," Wathelet said.

With its own income, the EU would be a "more just" organisation which would more closely scrutinise its own accounts, he argued.

France's junior minister for Europe, Pierre Lellouche, told AFP on Tuesday that the idea of a European tax was "perfectly ill-timed," saying the goal should instead be to "make savings" in Brussels.

Lellouche, like London and Berlin, said taxation at the EU level would raise "fundamental political questions and would constitute a major transfer of sovereignty."

© 2010 AFP

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