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Former Belgian Prime Minister Mr Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit representative and a frequent critic of Britain’s decision to quit the bloc, took to Twitter with some words of advice for the European Commission President with relation to the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) or budget. The member of the Renew Europe bloc of liberal politicians in the Parliament posted: “#EUCO needs to start taking Parliament seriously on #MFF/recovery fund.
“EU will issue bonds and borrow to help our economies and create jobs after COVID-19.
“We @RenewEurope say taxpayers shouldn’t pick up the bill, but big polluters & digital giants through new EU own resources!”
However, numerous respondents pointed out what they identified to be a major flaw in Mr Verhofstadt’s suggestion.
You haven’t thought this through, you fool
Twitter user Cancel Your TV Licence
One UK-based user said: “You squeeze those multinationals as hard as you can…then watch them move to the UK! Win/win situation!”
Another, posting as Cancel Your TV Licence, added: “Tax the digital giants too much and they will leave and refuse to provide digital services within EU.
“You haven’t thought this through, you fool.”
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A third asked: “Do you plan to tax big business out of business? Or just out of the EU?”
Another poster suggested Mr Verhofstadt’s words had a familiar ring, saying: “It’s always the same in EU-land isn’t it?
“Thank goodness we’re heading for a clean break on #1stJanuary2021 #OtherPeoplesMoney”
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Craig Bell said: “The EU doesn’t have any ‘own resources’ – it is not a country, it is an organisation.
“You are just stealing money from member states by taxing companies that the member states should be taxing for the benefit of there citizens…”own resources” is just theft from all Europeans.”
Similarly, another poster said: “Is this a JOKE? WE taxpayers ALWAYS pick up the bill!
“You’re not spending your money, you’re spending OUR money!”
Nevetheless Mr Verhofstadt did have have some support.
Plamen Neykov said: “Digital giants have for too long gamed the system, extracted huge profits without paying even a cent of tax in the EU countries where they derived their biggest profits.
“This corrupt practice should stop now!”
‘Own resources’ refers to the method which provides the EU’s main revenue, and is broken down into three sections – duties and levies, value added tax and national contributions.
The EU sees a bloc-wide digital tax as a way as forcing tech companies such as Google and Apple to pay more into its coffers.
However, many are concerned at the idea of Brussels having the power to impose taxes, and also believe the cost will inevitably be passed on to the consumer.
European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis is a strong advocate of such a move.
France is pressing ahead with plans for a digital tax irrespective.
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