Brussels calls a halt to Polish supermarket tax

The European Commission has blocked a retail tax introduced by Warsaw on the grounds that the levy, which means that companies with large turnover pay more taxes than those with low turnover, may breach EU state aid rules. Brussels wants to destroy Polish retailers, some commentators argue. Others warn Warsaw not to get into a fight with the European Commission.

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Gazeta Polska Codziennie (PL) /

Attack on Polish trade

Rather than attacking Polish trade the EU politicians should examine their own mistakes, the pro-government daily Gazeta Polska Codziennie demands:

“The government has levied a trade tax on supermarkets and hypermarkets that is based on turnover, in order to protect Polish commerce and balance out inequalities on the market. The tax was not levied on profits because these companies have never officially registered their profits anyway. Now the Commission is defending these foreign companies and destroying our domestic retailers by calling for the immediate abolishment of the tax. The Danish Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker are dealing with the matter personally. There's plenty to be said about Juncker in particular. His weak leadership is leading to the collapse of the EU. The UK's exit from the EU is a result of his incompetence and post trading.”

Polityka (PL) /

Warsaw should give in

The PiS government wanted to use the revenues from the supermarket tax to finance its flagship project of increasing child benefit. But Warsaw doesn't stand a chance against Brussels and should think more carefully about the promises it makes in future, Polityka warns:

“Naturally the government could simply ignore the Commission's demand that it drop the tax. But this would lead to the launch of an investigation before the European Court of Justice. And there's no real chance of winning in Strasbourg, so it would end with the government having to pay back the taxes it has already taken in. That would be very costly - not to mention the additional damage it would do to our country's image. … A record budget deficit is already planned for next year. … This new tax was to secure an additional 1.6 billion złoty [around 372 million euros] in revenues that wouldn't exist without it. The moral of this story: be careful what you promise.”