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Europe

Commissioner Backs Franco-German Tax Plan

Joaquin Almunia, the European Commissioner for Monetary Affairs, has expressed his interest in Franco-German proposal to introduce an EU-wide minimum corporate tax.

proposal to introduce an EU-wide minimum corporate tax. Commissioner Almunia told the Belgian newspaper l'Echo over the weekend that he favours a minimum tax for companies accross the EU. When asked whether an EU-wide minimum rate would be a possibility, Almunia replied, "from my point of view, that could be a solution." Almunia's comment follows a heated debate over corporate tax levels in the EU. The 10 new member states that entered the Union on May 1 generally have very low levels of corporate tax in order to make their economies more attractive for company investment. Estonia has a zero percent rate for reinvested earnings while Latvia, Lithuania and Cyprus charge 15 percent and Poland 19 percent. France, Germany and Sweden -- countries with corporate tax rates ranging from 35 to 40 percent -- fear that companies will shift their investments away from their economies to the East. So they are keen to see minimal corporate tax levels in the EU. But Commissioner Almunia acknowledged to l'Echo that many EU countries still oppose such an idea. ( EUobserver.com)

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