The EU Should Keep Unanimous Agreement on Tax Matters

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The European Commission (EC) has prepared a Roadmap for more efficient law-making in the field of taxation: identification of areas for a move to qualified majority voting. The aim of the proposal is to explore possibilities for removing the need for unanimous agreement by all countries and moving to qualified majority voting in taxation, i.e. deciding on tax matters by a weighted system (“qualified majority voting”) where measures can be carried if supported by a minimum number of EU countries, representing a minimum share of the EU population.

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However, there are a number of reasons to suggest that moving to qualified majority voting in taxation will undermine the competitiveness of the European Union and bring negative consequences for economic, societal and technological development.

In particular, such a move would not only fail to attain the desired goals but will also bring negative consequences, e.g. infringe the national sovereignty over tax matters which is a fundamental principle of the EU, diminish the pressure on national authorities to pursue efficient and competitive tax policies, and pose a risk of higher taxation to many taxpayers across the EU.

Therefore, the European Commission should work to preserve the highest degree of tax competition between Member States that allows countries to create the best conditions for its citizens and businesses to work and enterprise, and high-tax EU Member States should take practical steps towards improving their tax systems, i.e. align them with the tax regimes that are the most conducive to economic growth, instead of advocating tax harmonization through a move to qualified majority voting.

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