Euro-MPs mount new push to tax citizens, businesses
(STRASBOURG) - European Parliament heavyweights launched a new bid Wednesday to replace state EU funding with direct taxes on half a billion citizens and 20 million companies.
The head of the parliament's budget committee, France's Alain Lamassoure, was joined by ex-Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt in calling for 2014-2020 European Union funding to be radically changed.
Currently, about three quarters of the EU's some 126.5-billion-euro budget ($180 billion) is paid in by its 27 member states, but supporters want negotiations on the next budget cycle, starting in June, to re-focus on "own resources."
They want a Europe-wide sales tax of one percent levied directly by the EU as well as a 20-euro-per-tonne tax on carbon emissions and taxes on stock exchange and bond transactions.
Lamassoure said the current system for EU funding, which results in a stalemate amid huge farm payments to France and a vast rebate to London going back decades, is "the height of absurdity, a democratic scandal."
The European Commission will propose changes in June. So far it has suggested that only about one third -- not all of the EU's funding -- should come from these "own resources."
The bloc's biggest states are against EU taxes, which they see as eroding national power and as vote-losers for incumbent governments.
Five of its richest members, Britain, Finland, France, Germany and the Netherlands, have also demanded a total freeze on the EU's budget through to 2020, to reflect EU-imposed austerity on national economies.
The parliament meanwhile awarded itself a 2.3-percent increase for its 2012 budget, to 1.725 billion euros, pending approval by the Commission and states.
Three million euros is to be set aside for improvements to security, after a spate of breaches including an armed hold-up inside the parliament's Brussels chamber.
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