European Commissioner for Competition wants a pan-European tax on internet giants
The need for Europe to decide on the digital tax and to show the way if there is not enough global consensus, European Commissioner for Competition Margrete Vestagger said today.
There is still a disagreement among EU members on how to apply the so-called “GAFA” tax – from the names of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – to ensure that global internet giants pay their share of taxes for their enormous activities in Europe.
France is pushing hard to enforce it but at a meeting of EU finance ministers over the weekend, Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Denmark have blocked the draft GAFA pan-European tax proposal, officials say.
“We are becoming more and more a digital world and it will be a huge problem if we do not find a way to increase (digital) taxes,” Vestagher told at France radio station France Inter.
Vestagher said that European countries need first an agreement that could lead to a Europe-wide harmonized tax.
“The best is a global solution. But if we want to achieve results in a reasonable time period, Europe has to go ahead, “the Commissioner added.
Members of the French National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament, will begin today to discuss the draft GAFA national tax law. The bill proposes a 3% tax on digital ads and other technology company revenue with a worldwide revenue of over € 750 million.
Vestager, a former Danish economy minister, is widely known in Brussels for its anti-tax evasion and monopoly positions among US multinationals and is seen as a potential candidate to become the next European Commission president. She has not officially announced her candidacy for this post, but if she does, she will probably need the support of French President Emmanuel Macron.
Asked if she was interested in the presidency of the Commission, she said: “I am very interested in the future of Europe. In my opinion, before we decide on any new person for the Commission, we really need to know what we want to achieve. “