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Friday, January 27, 2006

That VAT Problem

Contrary to what that nice man Mr Blair says, the European Union does have a great deal of influence on taxes. Where VAT is concerned, Brussels has long held the upper hand. Not everyone is happy with this:

Along with the Czech Republic and Cyprus, Poland infuriated other countries in the 25-member bloc this week when it refused to go along with a compromise deal to extend lower VAT rates to more service sectors.
At stake are several groups of products and services not subject to VAT in these countries. Unfortunately for our soon to be wiser friends, not charging VAT is a cardinal sin in the hallowed halls of Brussels. All Europeans must render unto Caesar, whatever goods or services they consume. Apparently, the Poles have not gained the sophisticated European ways yet:
Some EU analysts said Poland could make a far better in case in Brussels if it did not shoot from the hip. "The government is very inexperienced and it has a very small lobby in Brussels," said Paul Hofheinz, chairman of the independent free-market Lisbon Council research group.
Unlike Jacque Chirac, I suppose, whose politeness and good manners are legend. This whole thing displays one of the things I hate most about the EU. Most people are expected to compromise at all possibilities, whilst others are given a free hand, or should that be carte blanche, to do as they please. All this, for the sake of ideas that have no merit. At the end of the day, there is no reason why VAT rates should be the same everywhere anyway.

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