Digital tax without the US?
The US has broken off negotiations with the EU on a global digital services tax for tech giants like Google or Facebook. This comes after France suspended the introduction of its Gafa tax in January in order to bring Washington to the negotiating table. Commentators conclude that it's high time the issue were resolved.
EU must defend its interests
The EU member states should exert collective pressure on Washington, La Croix urges:
“The US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, invoked the urgent health situation to justify the interruption of negotiations. This prompted a statement from French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire that the digital giants 'are perhaps the only ones in the world to have benefited enormously from the coronavirus'. France's harsh reaction is entirely justified. However it must have the whole of the European Union behind it or else the balance of power will be upset. The future of Europe also depends on pushing through its digital interests.”
Fair taxation more important than ever
The United States and Europe are under more pressure than ever to get the IT giants to cough up, the Financial Times warns:
“Lockdowns have helped multinational big tech companies grow even bigger while squeezing more traditional businesses - just as governments are scrambling for new tax revenues to pay for support they have provided to the economy. It has become only more urgent to provide a level playing field for bricks-and-mortar retailers that compete with digital rivals but are taxed very differently. But the need for an agreed international solution remains a priority. A patchwork of unilateral schemes will be less effective and harder to enforce.”
This project must not fail
The Europeans should throw themselves into the breach on this issue, writes Der Spiegel:
“France and Spain have already pithily declared that they will not be intimidated by the US. Trump has repeatedly shown in the past that he is more likely to be impressed by such signs of strength than by subservience. What's more, even Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has now declared his willingness to pay more taxes in some countries. However, past experience with European tax projects is sobering. The Europeans have been trying and failing for years to agree on a financial transaction tax, for example.”