As published on newsbook.com.mt, Saturday 3 October, 2020.
Labour MEP Alfred Sant warned that small states could be harmed by proposals to expand the system of own resources funding the European Union, as he explained his vote against an EP report on the proposals.
Sant was the only Maltese MEP to vote against the draft text, which was approved by 455 votes in favour, 146 against and 88 abstentions. All other 5 Maltese MEPs voted in favour.
But the former PM highlighted that the report includes proposals for new EU-level taxes including a financial transaction tax and the common consolidated corporate tax base, taxes long opposed by Malta amid concerns it would hinder a tax regime which an EP resolution had described as having the characteristics of tax haven.
Sant did not wholly object to expanding own resources – taxes which directly fund the EU budget, stating that proposals reflecting EU objectives acknowledged by all – including a plastic levy – were “extremely fit for purpose.”
But he questioned tax measures targeting very specific sectors.
“The problem is that mostly, the smaller to smallest Member States are affected. Were it otherwise, and the interests of the larger states were involved, the approach would be much more cautious,” Sant maintained in his explanation of his vote.
“The questions as to whether own resources is the best response to the EU’s crying need for more funds to carry out its mission, and as to how new own resources should be identified, merit an urgent revisit.”