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EU Mulls Wider Tax Mandate
Date 01/06/2011 15:17  Author webmaster  Hits 1517  Language Global
1 JUN 2011

By Laurence Norman | WSJ

BRUSSELS—The European Commission is considering laying claim to tens of billions of euros in tax revenues from across the European Union, a change that would significantly boost the commission's financial power.

On June 29, Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski is to outline budget proposals for 2014-20. The former Polish privatization minister will also present a plan on "own resources," or tax revenues specifically earmarked for the commission. Currently, just 12% of the EU's total budget, which this year amounts to €126.5 billion ($181 billion), comes from own resources, which are mainly import duties. Mr. Lewandowski said in an interview that he hopes that by the end of the next budget period, new forms of own resources could account for 30% of the EU budget.

Taking the proposed 2012 budget as a reference, that would mean the EU having direct control over at least €40 billion of the budget instead of €16 billion at present. The total could be much higher unless the current revenues Brussels receives from import duties were directed elsewhere.

Mr. Lewandowski said his proposal wouldn't mean additional contributions for EU taxpayers. For every euro directly targeted to Brussels, member states, which currently contribute three-quarters of the budget, would see an equivalent reduction in what they pay.

He also played down talk of new direct EU taxes across the 27-nation bloc, saying the idea runs against "the mood" of European taxpayers.

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