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EU SHORTS

Dzurinda rejects EU tax initiative

SPEAKING at an international conference in Lisbon on June 12, Mikuláš Dzurinda, Slovakia's former PM and leader of the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union, expressed his dissatisfaction with the current increase of European bureaucracy and efforts to harmonise taxes in EU-member states, the TASR news wire wrote.

Dzurinda delivered his speech at a conference organised by the Portuguese parliament entitled Tax Policy and Competitiveness: The View of the European Commission and International Trends.

"I'm set against the idea that European bureaucrats fix taxes and tie our hands," said Dzurinda. "I have shown with clear arguments that the tax reform in Slovakia leads neither to tax 'dumping', nor to lower tax incomes. On the contrary, following the tax reform, revenues to the state budget increased," Dzurinda said.

Dzurinda said that Slovakia has shown that, through the combination of reasonable tax and social policies, high economic growth can be achieved and a country can begin to catch up with its wealthier neighbours.

In his speech, Dzurinda spoke about Slovakia's experience with the introduction of reforms, including the flat tax. "I don't see any reason why some politicians should abuse such tendencies (harmonisation of taxes) given their inability to push for these reforms in their own countries."

During his visit to Lisbon, Dzurinda met with European People's Party Vice President Mario David, with whom he also spoke about the European Constitution. According to Dzurinda, the spectrum of opinions on this topic is unusually wide and the German presidency will have a difficult task charting a road map of negotiations that could lead EU member states to consensus.

"I assume, however, that a fundamental rapprochement of opinions will probably occur, if not at June's EU summit, then during the Portuguese presidency," he added.

During the May session, the Slovak parliament turned down a Declaration of Tax Sovereignty submitted by the opposition Christian Democratic Movement. Coalition MPs argued that it is too early for such declarations and that these are rushed topics that are out of focus at the moment. They recalled that any decision on tax harmonisation at the European level would have to be adopted with unanimity from all 27 member states, making it particularly complicated to agree on.

Opposition parties were alarmed when Prime Minister Robert Fico stated in March that Slovakia should not avoid discussing its advantageous tax system if the bigger EU countries were to push for harmonisation.

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