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10th-Sep-2018

EU ministers do 'battle' over digital tax

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AFP, Vienna :
EU finance ministers battled Saturday over a controversial proposal to slap a European tax on US tech giants amid rising worries that it is ineffective and protectionist.
France for a year has rallied EU partners to draw up the tax which Paris says is necessary to ensure that global tech platforms such as Facebook and Google pay their fair share.  Paris fervently argues that the measure would be a popular accomplishment for the EU ahead of European elections next year, in which anti-Brussels populists could do well.  However, Ireland leads a small group of countries that argue the tax would also punish European companies and stifle innovation.  Dublin, along with Luxembourg and the Netherlands, are the European homes for several US tech giants that would face the tax.  "Today is the big battle day over fairness in taxation in the digital economy," said Hartwig Loger, the finance minister of Austria, which holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency.  "It is our clear goal to have by the end of the year.. the first steps in taxing the digital economy at the European level," he said.  Austria's self imposed deadline leaves less than three months to get opponents on side as European tax rules require unanimous backing by all EU members.