Thursday 12 August 2010

EU tax: Euroblog discussion on

One of the few silly season issues to make waves during summer recess in Brussels has been the preliminary announcement by the EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski that he will present a few options for an EU tax in September, as reported by Financial Times Deutschland on 9 August 2010 (in German).

For the benefit of those who read English, EUobserver ran a story two days later, where Lewandowski defended the idea of shifting the burden from the budgets of the member states to revenue financed by Europeans more directly (although it would most probably be an indirect tax).

Incidentally, I found no official information on the web pages of Commissioner Lewandowski or the DG Budget or the pages of Financial Programming and Budget, which gives the discussion something of a silly season flavour, at this stage.

Some member state governments and lobby groups wanted to score immediate points by rejecting any proposals out of hand, before seeing the details and arguments.

Despite the predictable gut reactions from the usual suspects, there have also been more measured responses among Euroblogs. A fair sample of blog posts is available under the topics tag Taxation and Customs, and newer, still untagged posts are aggregated in the stream of all posts on

In the short term, discussing a European Union tax may be as futile as defence pleading before the French Revolutionary Tribunal during the reign of terror, but EU level taxation touches upon a number of fundamental issues of European integration, ultimately relevant to the security and prosperity of EU citizens.

In some cases aspects have been deliberately or unwittingly distorted by media and citizens, so there is also cause to correct a few misunderstandings.

Let the EU tax discussion continue in order to clarify matters.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. It is easier to understand a language than to use it correctly. As Eurobloggers we could and should promote interaction among Europeans across borders and between linguistic communities. Grahnlaw has adopted a multilingual comment policy:

I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

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