While waiting for a global agreement, the European Commission has put forward the first web tax proposal: a 3 percent tax on income — not profits — of tech titans including Google, Amazon, Uber and Facebook.
Member countries’ heads of state and of government met Thursday and discussed the proposal, but the EU is divided. A group of smaller countries whose fortunes lie on competitive fiscal policies — including the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus — is holding back, while bigger countries including France, Italy, Germany and Spain are pushing for new regulation.
It doesn’t much matter: the new proposal is likely to be temporary anyway, holding the line only until the G20 reaches a comprehensive agreement. But that doesn’t seem close. And since EU institutions can pass new fiscal decisions only by unanimous vote, the plan will likely fall back on a strong co-operation agreement (which only needs nine countries to begin with).