Following the announcement that the European finance ministers could not agree on a digital tax, S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann says:
“I am disappointed that, due to the resistance from a small number of member states, finance ministers have been unable to agree on steps towards fair taxation for the digital sector. This shows how anachronistic the rule of unanimity in tax matters really is. We therefore call for the adoption of existing proposals to introduce qualified majority voting on tax matters so that Europe can finally become an effective player in questions of tax justice.
“We cannot expect citizens to understand why we continue to let the tech giants get off the hook with paying next to zero taxes. There is an urgent need to get active, since this is about justice issues on a global scale. Therefore, we call on the governments of the states participating in the OECD negotiations on the introduction of global minimum taxation standards to present concrete results as soon as possible.
“Of course, the taxation of internet giants is a complex issue. Digital value creation does not necessarily require a physical presence of the provider. This touches upon fundamental principles of our tax law. Therefore, we need to fundamentally modernise our tax systems and catch up in areas such as competition policy in order to put the digital economy at the service of a welfare-oriented European economic and social model.
“However, above all, we need to deliver results quickly. The longer citizens get the impression that we tolerate injustices deliberately, the more they turn away from politics. We have to do our utmost to make progress on the fair taxation of internet giants. We therefore call for the formation of a coalition of the willing. By means of the enhanced cooperation procedure, they can find agreements which will ensure greater tax fairness, at least in parts of the EU. Apart from those who stubbornly block progress, there are governments who have understood that we need to move forward. We have to give them the chance to do so.”