MediaDerk Jan Eppink MEP Speaks Out Against EU Tax Plans
Derk Jan Eppink, MEP for Belgium and a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, has hit out strenuously at plans for EU taxes, revealed today by the EU’s Tax Commissioner, Janusz Lewandowski. Mr Lewandowski told the Financial Times Deutschland that “the door is open to think about revenues that are not claimed by (national) finance ministers.” He said that the current system whereby 76 per cent of the EU’s budget is paid for by national contributions “was not the intention of the founding fathers."
But Mr Eppink, a former Commission insider whose recent books “Life of a European Mandarin" and "Bonfire of Bureaucracy in Europe” predicted calls for EU taxes earlier this year, said: “Unsurprisingly, the Commission’s main entry gate may be open to EU taxes, but I am sure ordinary taxpayer’s will close all doors and windows. No wonder the Commission launches it as its mid summer night's dream''.
Mr Lewandowski’s spokesman, Patrizio Fiorilli, told the media today that "the time is now to look into alternative sources of income for the EU budget," adding that in late September the Commissioner will set out a series of options for EU taxes, including a levy on air transport, a tax on financial transactions and the allocation of some of the funds from the planned auction of greenhouse gas emissions permits.
Mr Eppink saw the irony of the remarks. “The time is now only because the Commission is taking people by surprise when they are in the middle of their summer holidays, while tanning their bellies. It’s a well-known bureaucratic trick for announcing unwelcome things.”
Mr Eppink remarked “this shows that EU taxes are an end in themselves for the Commission to expand the powers of the EU indiscriminately rather than focus on its core tasks. In fact, he continued, “the EU has no need to raise its own taxes. Each year, it cannot even spend all the money it gets from national governments. In 2008, an amount of 4,5 billion euro remained unspent in the sector of structural funds alone. Furthermore, the way major parts of the EU budget are spent, is not approved by the EU Court of Auditors. At a time when all citizens are obliged to tighten their belts, this sends the wrong signal. It will only add to the total fiscal pressures on the citizen. Even Lewandowski admits it. His plan must be fought tooth and nail. Let Brussels tighten its belt too.”
The MEP concluded by pointing out that he had already pre-empted the move by setting up a website, www.noeutax.eu , and launching a European Citizens’ Initiative to prevent the introduction of EU taxes. “We need a million signatures from at least a third of the EU member states. I am confident we will get them, because the citizens are paying more than enough taxes already. They don’t want additional tax bills from Brussels.