Taxation – qualified majority voting

EESC opinion: Taxation – qualified majority voting

Key points:

The EESC supports the Commission's ambition to kick-start a necessary debate, given the sensitivities of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in tax matters. At the same time, the EESC considers that there are certain conditions that would need to be met for QMV to be successfully implemented.

The unanimity rule in taxation may increasingly appear as politically anachronistic, legally problematic and economically counterproductive. In the future, with an adoption of QMV, the European Parliament would play an important role in tax matters.

Unanimity in taxation has impacted on other wider EU policy priorities.

The EESC also considers that taxation policy in general and combating tax fraud in particular must remain a priority policy area for the upcoming European Commission.

The EESC is aware that tax policy has always been closely linked to the sovereignty of Member States, as it is of utmost importance to them. The EESC understands that tax competition for some EU Member States was a factor to solve financial problems in the past.

Following in-depth economic, social and fiscal analysis, any new rule must be fit-for-purpose and all Member States must at all times have sufficient possibilities to participate in the decision-making process. Creating an advantageous outcome both at the EU level and at the level of the individual Member State should be the ultimate objective.

When decided, the four proposed steps should be implemented gradually and the European Commission should perform an evaluation after each implementation.

EESC underlines the need for a wider process to possibly progress towards a more effective QMV that will take time and be in sync with other policy initiatives. In that sense, the EESC points out the necessity of:

  1. A sufficiently strong EU budget.

  2. Better coordinated economic policy.

  3. A substantial analytical work assessing to what extent current tax measures have been insufficient.