Brussels September 9 2022: A group of European Union countries is considering new ways of implementing a global deal for a 15% minimum tax on large multinationals in 2023 as Hungary continues to veto a joint solution for the bloc.
Finance ministers from five of the largest EU economies said at a meeting in Prague on Friday they will strengthen their commitment to the plan by working on alternatives that would exclude Budapest.
“Should unanimity not be reached in the next weeks, our governments are fully determined to follow through on our commitment,” Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands said in a statement. “We stand ready to implement the global minimum effective taxation in 2023 and by any possible legal means.”
Inertia and political difficulties in Europe have cast a shadow over the implementation of a broad taxation deal reached last year between more than 130 countries. Progress on what was hailed as a “revolution” has also been slowed by technical difficulties on new rules determining which nations get to tax multinational digital companies.
Before Hungary’s last-minute veto in June, the EU was close to agreeing on a harmonized implementation of the part of the global plan that would create an effective 15% minimum corporate tax.
Germany’s coalition government has already started to prepare national legislation that could be used if necessary, the country’s finance minister, Christian Lindner, said earlier on Friday.
“We strongly support the European approach, we try to convince all member states, especially one, but we make a decision to implement the minimum taxation in Germany if there is no understanding on this,” Lindner said as he arrived in Prague. “I think others will be open to a similar approach.”
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said his government is also ready to use national provisions, and that another option could be to use Europe’s mechanism for “enhanced cooperation” between a limited number of states.
“Now it’s time to implement this decision, we should not talk, we should decide,” Le Maire said.