Several EU countries block tax on large digital firms

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Brussels, April 28 (IANS) Several European Union (EU) members opposed the adoption of a temporary tax on sales by large digital firms, proposed by the European Commission and promoted by France, the bloc’s Bulgarian presidency said on Saturday.

Bulgaria currently holds the presidency of the EU, and finance ministers from the block’s 28 member states were meeting here on Saturday, reports Efe news.

“Some countries don’t want to have short term decisions, they prefer to have long term, but from our point of view we need both,” Bulgarian Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said.

Of the adoption of the tax, which the French government wanted to see approved before the end of the year, the Bulgarian minister said it would be done “as soon as possible.”

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This is first time that the EU has held a ministerial level discussion on the proposal that seeks a 3 per cent tax on the billing of certain digital services of firms with a turnover of more than 750 million euros ($911 million) in the world and more than 50 million euros in the EU.

Malta, Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg have opposed the proposal.

European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, defended the measure, saying “it’s not a protectionist approach, it’s something which is in the interest of all Europeans wherever they live, and that it won’t damage this economy which is very strong”.

The tax would be temporary as an urgent measure to make up for the low tax contribution of these companies until a long term solution is adopted.

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–IANS

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