Smith Condemns Moves Towards Common EU Taxation

15 January 2008
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has condemned a European Parliament vote which has approved calls for greater moves towards common taxation across the EU.

The report was passed by a large majority, but does not relate to any legislative dossier under consideration by the European Commission, and was criticised by Mr Smith as "navel gazing". The report does however indicate the positions of the parties within the European Parliament, who backed the report by a sizeable margin and will hence encourage formal proposals to come forward. Mr Smith will continue to oppose such moves.

Speaking after the package was approved Mr Smith said:

"This issue is not one which the Parliament needed to take a position on, and I think this report owes more to navel gazing than any real focus on how to kick-start the EU economy.

"I'm a passionate European, but one things that frustrates me is the EU extending into areas where it just does not add value and this is a prime example of that.

"Growth across the EU is too low, and in Scotland in particular we must do better because too many of our people remain too poor. Precisely the last thing we need is a common EU tax rate, which remains a gleam in the eye of only the wildest eurocrats and has been rejected time and again by member state governments, citizens and businesses.

"This report doubtless involved a lot of hard work, but I would gently suggest that being busy and being useful are not the same thing."

In explaining his vote Mr Smith added:

"Mr President, sometimes I do wonder if the effort we put into reports in this place is worth it. Taxation policy must remain a competence of member states and any moves from anywhere to extend community competence to this policy field will be met with opposition by our constituents, national governments and businesses.

"Accordingly while I do not denigrate the hard work that has clearly gone into it, I disagree with much of this report and even question the need for it."