Wednesday, August 11, 2010

That EU taxation proposal, a positive slant

Greg Henning, at the EU Weekly blog has taken a look at Commissioner Lewandowski's kite flying about EU taxation earlier in the week and has definitely come down on the side of it being a good thing (as has Jon Worth for that matter).

They seem to approve for a couple of reasons. In the case of Jon, he seems to think that by tieing taxation policies to European Elections this would increase turn out, and this increase the legitimacy of those elections. I am sure he is right, and in some way it would be no bad thing. Methinks that the vote for one small party would rocket at least in the UK, and its group in the Parliament would probably outgrow its current offices (indeed I declare an interest given that I work for that group).

Of course in the case of the UK, the fact that a clear majority of people would vote for parties that utterly reject direct EU taxes (and yes I know that they would be indirect to the individual, but they would be paid direct to the EU) would have interesting ramifications which Jon, as a European federalist would find distinctly distasteful, but as a democrat he would accept with a heavy heart.

Such a scenario would play to the Leninist notion of worse is better (though as an aside it appears he was mockingly quoting somebody else).

Anyhow back to Mr Henning he says, correctly in my view,

However, at a moment when austerity – re branded smart spending in France – is one of the favorite policy among EU countries, being able to reduce the EU budget line is a big psychological plus; the sort of thing some government would be delighted to announce. Of course, this wouldn’t really reduce the contribution from a country, it would just be paid directly and not via the government.
Where we disagree is as follows,

Such a tax is a big step toward more Europe and a greater Union. But this is just the beginning. I would really appreciate taking this step, but that might not be enough. If one day I can choose between filling a French tax form or a European one, that would be so much great – but there are some progress to make in a lot of domains between we can get there.
He suggests it might not be enough, I cannot imagine what he is thinking of here, but it rather worries me. And he then posits the situation that one could choose to which jurisdiction the money goes to.

Oh, would that that be the case. The EU would wither on its own CAP funded vine. I cannot see anybody seriously choosing the EU as a recipient of their tax rather than their local national governments. It would be honest, Yes. It would be transparent, also Yes. But it would result in the almost simultaneous closing down of the EU.



Mark Wadsworth said...

Keep up the good work on this EU-tax raising stuff.

In the instant case, it would be a splendid result. You'd have to be mad to tick "EU".

Jon Worth said...

You're right - as a democrat I would accept the result.

But I also think some kind of EU taxation system is the only way to sort out the mess that is the EU budget at the moment. It would be *good* to have parties putting forward programmes proposing less spending, ways to phase out CAP etc. No party can say that sort of thing with any degree of coherency at the moment as they would have no way of delivering on it. With an EU tax system they might.

Gawain Towler said...

Dammit Jon, we must stop aggreeing - people might start to talk