EU's Patten slams Sarkozy viewof newcomers' tax regimes

24th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Sept 23 (AFP) - EU external affairs chief Chris Patten struck out Thursday at recent comments by French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy about the tax regimes of newcomers to the European Union.

LONDON, Sept 23 (AFP) - EU external affairs chief Chris Patten struck out Thursday at recent comments by French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy about the tax regimes of newcomers to the European Union.  

"It is bizarre that anyone should see growing prosperity in one part of our single market as a threat, rather than an opportunity for us all," Patten wrote in an opinion piece in the Financial Times newspaper.  

"Would we prefer the entire EU to grow at the current French or German rates of less than two percent?" he added.  

Sarkozy suggested earlier this month that EU aid to the 10 central and eastern European states that joined the bloc on May 1 be conditional on the countries raising their tax rates to EU averages.  

His remarks were were rejected by the new EU members and were met coldly by other EU countries.  

"The EU, and particularly its larger economies, cannot afford to be complacent, to ignore the increasing mobility of global capital, to pretend that multinational companies will not seek out the most favourable tax environment for their shareholders' wealth," he wrote.  

Tax regimes were not the only criterion according to which a company decided whether to establish an operation, he noted. France and Germany, for instance, enjoyed "excellent productivity levels".  

"But the finance ministers in those countries might ponder what sort of signal they are giving to business if their response to competitive environments elsewhere is not to compete but to cry foul and insist that the other teams should be penalised," he said.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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