Thursday, January 19, 2006

EU President baits British tabloid with tax plan

“Barely three weeks into his presidency of the EU, Austria's Wolfgang Schuessel proposes yet another increase in the power of Brussels” roars the Daily Mail comment column. Not only is he looking again at the constitution, he’s also revived the idea of EU taxes. One of these “would undermine the City of London's competitiveness”. Belatedly acknowledging that it’s never going to happen, the writer goes on: “sooner or later [UK ministers] will surrender, as they have been surrendering since the day we joined, more than 35 years ago”.

No wonder our economy is performing so woefully after 35 years of surrender to these evil eurocrats. But we joined only 33 years ago and isn’t our economy doing rather better than it was in 1970? If the writer thinks 33 is more than 35 perhaps he isn’t the world’s greatest economist after all.

The Independent is less hysterical: “The proposal … revived a debate that has raged for years in Brussels which has to get all 25 member states to agree on its seven-year spending programmes. …. The European Commission agreed to study the tax plan as part of the review but said it was "premature" to speculate on the outcome. …. Gary Titley, leader of Labour's MEPs, said: "While a direct tax is not acceptable, a more rational way of doing this, to get away from the 3am carve up, has to be the way forward". He suggested a levy bolted to indirect taxes…”

The Telegraph ends its report thus: “Tax policy must be agreed unanimously by all 25 EU nations. The Treasury said in a terse statement: "The UK Government has made clear that it is opposed to an EU tax, and believes that taxation is a matter for member states to determine at a national level."” So there’s nothing really to fret about after all.

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