France is plowing ahead with its vision for a European Union-wide digital tax, with the country’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire saying he wants the tax approved by the end of 2018.
“We want the adoption of the directive on digital taxation by the end of this year. This is a clear red line for the French government,” Le Maire told reporters in Brussels as he prepared to discuss the issue with his European counterparts. “We are aware there are some technical issues … but these are technical concerns, not political problems, so we still have three or four weeks before the next Ecofin (a regular meeting between EU finance ministers) to fix those technical issues.”
The finance minister went on to say that he would spend “day and night” with Germany to find a compromise and to overcome the technical issues. According to the report, some member states think the tax would hurt smaller countries, or potentially some of the more traditional industries. Ireland and Netherlands think the EU should wait for an international approach so that it doesn’t look like it is anti-business.
Still, Le Maire said that to wait any longer would be “political failure.” He noted that a delay could raise the risk of individual countries that are in favor of the tax, including the U.K. and Spain, going ahead without the rest of the EU. Citing Financial Times, CNBC reported that, despite all the bluster, the finance ministers gave up on the idea of reaching an agreement in December. At the same time, Vera Jourova, the EU’s justice commissioner, told CNBC at the Web Summit in Lisbon that there is a “very strong” determination in Europe to move ahead with the digital tax.