France rejects EU-wide tax plan

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France on Tuesday rejected as "ill-timed" EU authorities' proposal for new bloc-wide direct taxes to finance the EU budget, adding its voice to protests from London and Berlin.

"We judge this idea of a European tax perfectly ill-timed," France's junior minister for Europe, Pierre Lellouche told AFP.

"Any extra tax is currently unwelcome. It is much more the time for the member states and also European institutions to make savings."

EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski told the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper on Monday that he was considering options to raise revenue such as a direct levy on national taxpayers and a tax on air transport.

Lellouche said "the idea of a European tax raises fundamental political questions and would constitute a major transfer of sovereignty and tax-raising power."

Britain's Commercial Secretary James Sassoon on Tuesday also said Britain insists on retaining full control over its own tax policy. The Germany government likewise spoke out against the proposal on Monday.

© 2010 AFP

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