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The minimum tax of 15% for multinationals runs aground in the EU | Economy

In the center, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks with his German counterpart Christian Lindner (right).
In the center, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks with his German counterpart Christian Lindner (right).JULIEN WARNAND (EFE)

The European Union still does not apply the minimum rate of 15% in corporate tax. Poland has blocked in the Ecofin, the body that brings together the European finance ministers, the text that transposes the agreement reached in the OECD last fall, a pact of almost 140 countries, to set that floor throughout the world. Warsaw, which did support the initiative months ago, has prevented, once again, that the Twenty-seven are not reaching a common point to transpose it to the European norm.

It was the second time that Ecofin has addressed this debate. It already did in March. And then, as now, there was no agreement. Then the bloc of no was larger: Estonia, Sweden, Hungary, Malta… This Tuesday almost all these countries have changed their position. The new text proposed by the French presidency – France presides over the Council of the European Union this semester – has convinced Estonia, Sweden and Malta. Hungary has not commented.

The objections that Poland has raised, explained its representative, Magdalena Rzeczkowska, would be that they claim that the application of the minimum rate does not go hand in hand with the rates so that the digital giants pay where they obtain their benefits and not where they find it more advantageous. This point was also part of the OECD agreement, but there are details that are still being finalized in this international body.

The solution that has been offered to Poland is the commitment of the EU to put pressure on the OECD and thus advance this other leg of the October agreement, the so-called Pillar 1. But it has not been enough. “I don’t understand Poland’s position”, replied the French Finance Minister and temporary president of Ecofin, Bruno La Maire, “it says that it wants to fight against tax planning and this directive does it, it says that it wants to fight against tax evasion and this directive does. It is a question of justice.”

In the interventions of the countries that opposed it a few weeks ago, the progress in this latest version of the text has been recognized, which, above all, gives them more time to transpose the European directive to the Member States. In its first version there was talk of January 1, 2023 and now it would be left for the end of next year.

He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.

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