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Benelux must back Franco-German tax push: Belgium

07 September 2011, 10:52 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands should join a French-German drive to create a single corporate tax regime, the Belgian finance minister said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Didier Reynders told Le Soir newspaper he also backed the idea of appointing a European finance minister to guarantee budget discipline, bringing Europe closer to a federal system.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced last month their intention to harmonise their corporate taxes in 2013 as part of efforts to overcome the eurozone debt crisis through deeper integration.

"Why shouldn't Benelux join this initiative?" Reynders said. "If five of the European Union's six founding nations succeed in harmonising their corporate taxes, that would be something."

Reynders joined European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet in calling for the creation of a eurozone finance minister.

"We won't avoid in the future the need to have greater budgetary integration," the minister said.

"If some countries don't take the necessary budgetary decisions, a European institution (a finance minister) will have to impose these measures," he said.

"This implies more federalism and giving up sovereignty, but this is the price to pay for more solidarity."

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