France will push to harminose company tax in EU: minister
France, which will take over the EU's rotating presidency in July, will push for the harmonisation of company tax, economy.
BRUSSELS, April 8, 2008 - France, which will take over the EU's rotating presidency in July, will push for the harmonisation of company tax, economy minister Christine Lagarde said Monday.
The matter is "one of the most urgent" regarding European fiscal policy and
is "certainly a question which we want to push" the minister told an economic
forum in Brussels.
European Union Taxation Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs is expected to present a
proposal for a common basis for company tax rates throughout the 27-nation EU,
not to fix a standard rate but to harmonise the basis for setting the rates.
The idea is supported by France and Germany but not by several other member
states, notably Britain and Ireland, which fear it may be a step towards a
more general tax harmonisation.
Kovacs, speaking at the same event, said that in order to increase
competitiveness in the European Union "there is a real need for the member
states to act together in certain tax policy areas."
The French minister also said Paris will try to push forward a Anglo-French
initiative to introduce lower sales tax rates for "green" goods which help
bring down energy use.
Lagarde added that she and British Finance minister Alistair Darling
"greatly hope to make significant progress on this matter".
Kovacs for his part agreed with "the essence" of the green tax proposal
while adding "what is technically the best solution is another question".
The French minister said that another "urgent issue" which the French EU
presidency will take a close look at is savings tax.
The European Commission said last month that it was ready to step up a
review of EU efforts to clamp down on tax havens if its members requested it
amid a escalating tax fraud scandal over Liechtenstein.