Europe Will Have a Digital Tax, No Matter What, Says Breton

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There will be a European tax on giant digital corporations, even if a current project harbored by theOECD fails, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Saturday, in an interview with France Inter radio.

“We’d rather do this within a global framework, as part of an OECD discussion, over the year 2020,” Breton said. He added that the U.S., which announced earlier this week that it’s pulling out of the talks, could very well come back around the negotiating table “in October, in November or even in December.”

“What is very clear is that by end December, either there is a deal within the OECD, and we will implement it, either there is none, and then Europe will present it.”

The U.S. said on Wednesday that it wouldwithdraw from a long-running effort at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to develop a global tax, and has threatened retaliatory tariffs against any nations that impose levies on the digital revenue of American companies.

Breton also voiced optimism regarding the adoption of the EU stimulus plan to restart the continent’s economies, during a summit in July, when Germany will take over the European Council’s rotating presidency.

On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with backup from France and the European Central Bank,warned the rest of the EU’s leadership that they will be jeopardizing the bloc’s economic recovery and risking a market rout if they fail to complete negotiations over a massive stimulus package next month. The EU’s 27 leaders held their first debate on a proposed 750 billion-euro ($840 billion) plan to help their economies heal from the Covid-19 lockdowns during a video conference on Friday and agreed to meet in person next month with the aim of reaching an agreement.

The European economy can achieve its environmental transition and become carbon neutral by 2050, Breton also said. “We’ll do it.”

That transition is taking place as part of an industrial strategy, which sees European corporations embracing new methods and models without necessarily harboring additional costs, Breton said.

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